Dissimilarity learning for nominal data

Victor Cheng, Chun-Hung Li*, James T. Kwok, Chi-Kwong Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


Defining a good distance (dissimilarity) measure between patterns is of crucial importance in many classification and clustering algorithms. While a lot of work has been performed on continuous attributes, nominal attributes are more difficult to handle. A popular approach is to use the value difference metric (VDM) to define a real-valued distance measure on nominal values. However, VDM treats the attributes separately and ignores any possible interactions among attributes. In this paper, we propose the use of adaptive dissimilarity matrices for measuring the dissimilarities between nominal values. These matrices are learned via optimizing an error function on the training samples. Experimental results show that this approach leads to better classification performance. Moreover, it also allows easier interpretation of (dis)similarity between different nominal values.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1471-1477
Number of pages7
JournalPattern Recognition
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Software
  • Signal Processing
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Artificial Intelligence

User-Defined Keywords

  • Classifiers
  • Dissimilarities
  • Distance measure
  • Nominal attributes
  • Pattern classification


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