Multi-Objective PSO Algorithm for Mining Numerical Association Rules Without a Priori Discretization


In the domain of association rules mining (ARM) discovering the rules for numerical attributes is still a challenging issue. Most of the popular approaches for numerical ARM require a priori data discretization to handle the numerical attributes. Moreover, in the process of discovering relations among data, often more than one objective (quality measure) is required, and in most cases, such objectives include conflicting measures. In such a situation, it is recommended to obtain the optimal trade-off between objectives. This paper deals with the numerical ARM problem using a multi-objective perspective by proposing a multi-objective particle swarm optimization algorithm (i.e., MOPAR) for numerical ARM that discovers numerical association rules (ARs) in only one single step. To identify more efficient ARs, several objectives are defined in the proposed multi-objective optimization approach, including confidence, comprehensibility, and interestingness. Finally, by using the Pareto optimality the best ARs are extracted. To deal with numerical attributes, we use rough values containing lower and upper bounds to show the intervals of attributes. In the experimental section of the paper, we analyze the effect of operators used in this study, compare our method to the most popular evolutionary-based proposals for ARM and present an analysis of the mined ARs. The results show that MOPAR extracts reliable (with confidence values close to 95%), comprehensible, and interesting numerical ARs when attaining the optimal trade-off between confidence, comprehensibility and interestingness.