Missing Data Approaches to Classification

Missing Data Approaches to Classification

Tshilidzi Marwala (University of Witwatersrand, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-336-4.ch009


In this chapter, a classifier technique that is based on a missing data estimation framework that uses autoassociative multi-layer perceptron neural networks and genetic algorithms is proposed. The proposed method is tested on a set of demographic properties of individuals obtained from the South African antenatal survey and compared to conventional feed-forward neural networks. The missing data approach based on the autoassociative network model proposed gives an accuracy of 92%, when compared to the accuracy of 84% obtained from the conventional feed-forward neural network models. The area under the receiver operating characteristics curve for the proposed autoassociative network model is 0.86 compared to 0.80 for the conventional feed-forward neural network model. The autoassociative network model proposed in this chapter, therefore, outperforms the conventional feed-forward neural network models and is an improved classifier. The reasons for this are: (1) the propagation of errors in the autoassociative network model is more distributed while for a conventional feed-forward network is more concentrated; and (2) there is no causality between the demographic properties and the HIV and, therefore, the HIV status does change the demographic properties and vice versa. Therefore, it is better to treat the problem as a missing data problem rather than a feed-forward problem.

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