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The \(\delta \)-machine: classification based on distances towards prototypes. (English) Zbl 1436.62296
Summary: We introduce the \(\delta \)-machine, a statistical learning tool for classification based on (dis)similarities between profiles of the observations to profiles of a representation set consisting of prototypes. In this article, we discuss the properties of the \(\delta \)-machine, propose an automatic decision rule for deciding on the number of clusters for the \(K\)-means method on the predictive perspective, and derive variable importance measures and partial dependence plots for the machine. We performed five simulation studies to investigate the properties of the \(\delta \)-machine. The first three simulation studies were conducted to investigate selection of prototypes, different (dis)similarity functions, and the definition of representation set. Results indicate that we best use the Lasso to select prototypes, that the Euclidean distance is a good dissimilarity function, and that finding a small representation set of prototypes gives sparse but competitive results. The remaining two simulation studies investigated the performance of the \(\delta \)-machine with imbalanced classes and with unequal covariance matrices for the two classes. The results obtained show that the \(\delta \)-machine is robust to class imbalances, and that the four (dis)similarity functions had the same performance regardless of the covariance matrices. We also showed the classification performance of the \(\delta \)-machine compared with three other classification methods on ten real datasets from UCI database, and discuss two empirical examples in detail.
MSC:
62H30 Classification and discrimination; cluster analysis (statistical aspects)
62J07 Ridge regression; shrinkage estimators (Lasso)
62R20 Statistics on metric spaces
68T05 Learning and adaptive systems in artificial intelligence
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