Artificial Intelligence Review

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 177–210

Class Noise vs. Attribute Noise: A Quantitative Study

  • Xingquan Zhu
  • Xindong Wu

DOI: 10.1007/s10462-004-0751-8

Cite this article as:
Zhu, X. & Wu, X. Artificial Intelligence Review (2004) 22: 177. doi:10.1007/s10462-004-0751-8


Real-world data is never perfect and can often suffer from corruptions (noise) that may impact interpretations of the data, models created from the data and decisions made based on the data. Noise can reduce system performance in terms of classification accuracy, time in building a classifier and the size of the classifier. Accordingly, most existing learning algorithms have integrated various approaches to enhance their learning abilities from noisy environments, but the existence of noise can still introduce serious negative impacts. A more reasonable solution might be to employ some preprocessing mechanisms to handle noisy instances before a learner is formed. Unfortunately, rare research has been conducted to systematically explore the impact of noise, especially from the noise handling point of view. This has made various noise processing techniques less significant, specifically when dealing with noise that is introduced in attributes. In this paper, we present a systematic evaluation on the effect of noise in machine learning. Instead of taking any unified theory of noise to evaluate the noise impacts, we differentiate noise into two categories: class noise and attribute noise, and analyze their impacts on the system performance separately. Because class noise has been widely addressed in existing research efforts, we concentrate on attribute noise. We investigate the relationship between attribute noise and classification accuracy, the impact of noise at different attributes, and possible solutions in handling attribute noise. Our conclusions can be used to guide interested readers to enhance data quality by designing various noise handling mechanisms.

attribute noise class noise machine learning noise impacts 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xingquan Zhu
    • 1
  • Xindong Wu
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of VermontUSA

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