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Keywords:

  • redescription mining;
  • bioclimatic niche finding;
  • numerical data;
  • missing data;
  • data mining

Abstract

Redescription mining is a powerful data analysis tool that is used to find multiple descriptions of the same entities. Consider geographical regions as an example. They can be characterized by the fauna that inhabits them on one hand and by their meteorological conditions on the other hand. Finding such redescriptors, a task known as niche-finding, is of much importance in biology. Current redescription mining methods cannot handle other than Boolean data. This restricts the range of possible applications or makes discretization a pre-requisite, entailing a possibly harmful loss of information. In niche-finding, while the fauna can be naturally represented using a Boolean presence/absence data, the weather cannot. In this paper, we extend redescription mining to categorical and real-valued data with possibly missing values using a surprisingly simple and efficient approach. We provide extensive experimental evaluation to study the behavior of the proposed algorithm. Furthermore, we show the statistical significance of our results using recent innovations on randomization methods. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Statistical Analysis and Data Mining, 2012