Selecting the suitable resampling strategy for imbalanced data classification regarding dataset properties

Kraiem, Mohamed S., Sánchez-Hernández, Fernando, Moreno-García, María N. Artificial Intelligence 

In many application domains such as medicine, information retrieval, cybersecurity, social media, etc., datasets used for inducing classification models often have an unequal distribution of the instances of each class. This situation, known as imbalanced data classification, causes low predictive performance for the minority class examples. Thus, the prediction model is unreliable although the overall model accuracy can be acceptable. Oversampling and undersampling techniques are well-known strategies to deal with this problem by balancing the number of examples of each class. However, their effectiveness depends on several factors mainly related to data intrinsic characteristics, such as imbalance ratio, dataset size and dimensionality, overlapping between classes or borderline examples. In this work, the impact of these factors is analyzed through a comprehensive comparative study involving 40 datasets from different application areas. The objective is to obtain models for automatic selection of the best resampling strategy for any dataset based on its characteristics. These models allow us to check several factors simultaneously considering a wide range of values since they are induced from very varied datasets that cover a broad spectrum of conditions. This differs from most studies that focus on the individual analysis of the characteristics or cover a small range of values. In addition, the study encompasses both basic and advanced resampling strategies that are evaluated by means of eight different performance metrics, including new measures specifically designed for imbalanced data classification. The general nature of the proposal allows the choice of the most appropriate method regardless of the domain, avoiding the search for special purpose techniques that could be valid for the target data.