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Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2013, Article ID 510167, 11 pages
Research Article

Ant Colony Optimization with Three Stages for Independent Test Cost Attribute Reduction

Lab of Granular Computing, Minnan Normal University, Zhangzhou 363000, China

Received 3 January 2013; Revised 1 May 2013; Accepted 23 May 2013

Academic Editor: Lu Zhen

Copyright © 2013 Zilong Xu et al. 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.


Minimal test cost attribute reduction is an important problem in cost-sensitive learning. Recently, heuristic algorithms including the information gain-based algorithm and the genetic algorithm have been designed for this problem. However, in many cases these algorithms cannot find the optimal solution. In this paper, we develop an ant colony optimization algorithm to tackle this problem. The attribute set is represented as a graph with each vertex corresponding to an attribute and weight of each edge to pheromone. Our algorithm contains three stages, namely, the addition stage, the deletion stage, and the filtration stage. In the addition stage, each ant starts from the initial position and traverses edges probabilistically until the stopping criterion is satisfied. The pheromone of the traveled path is also updated in this process. In the deletion stage, each ant deletes redundant attributes. Two strategies, called the centralized deletion strategy and the distributed deletion strategy, are proposed. Finally, the ant with minimal test cost is selected to construct the reduct in the filtration stage. Experimental results on UCI datasets indicate that the algorithm is significantly better than the information gain-based one. It also outperforms the genetic algorithm on medium-sized dataset Mushroom.