Table of Contents
Journal of Artificial Evolution and Applications
Volume 2008 (2008), Article ID 316145, 11 pages
Research Article

A Hybrid PSO/ACO Algorithm for Discovering Classification Rules in Data Mining

Computing Laboratory, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NF, UK

Received 20 July 2007; Accepted 6 March 2008

Academic Editor: Jim Kennedy

Copyright © 2008 Nicholas Holden and Alex A. Freitas. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We have previously proposed a hybrid particle swarm optimisation/ant colony optimisation (PSO/ACO) algorithm for the discovery of classification rules. Unlike a conventional PSO algorithm, this hybrid algorithm can directly cope with nominal attributes, without converting nominal values into binary numbers in a preprocessing phase. PSO/ACO2 also directly deals with both continuous and nominal attribute values, a feature that current PSO and ACO rule induction algorithms lack. We evaluate the new version of the PSO/ACO algorithm (PSO/ACO2) in 27 public-domain, real-world data sets often used to benchmark the performance of classification algorithms. We compare the PSO/ACO2 algorithm to an industry standard algorithm PART and compare a reduced version of our PSO/ACO2 algorithm, coping only with continuous data, to our new classification algorithm for continuous data based on differential evolution. The results show that PSO/ACO2 is very competitive in terms of accuracy to PART and that PSO/ACO2 produces significantly simpler (smaller) rule sets, a desirable result in data mining—where the goal is to discover knowledge that is not only accurate but also comprehensible to the user. The results also show that the reduced PSO version for continuous attributes provides a slight increase in accuracy when compared to the differential evolution variant.