Soft Computing

, Volume 21, Issue 10, pp 2609–2618 | Cite as

Searching for the most significant rules: an evolutionary approach for subgroup discovery

  • Victoria Pachón
  • Jacinto Mata
  • Juan Luis Domínguez
Methodologies and Application


In this paper, a new genetic algorithm (GAR-SD\(^{+})\) for subgroup discovery tasks is described. The main feature of this new method is that it can work with both discrete and continuous attributes without previous discretization. The ranges of numeric attributes are obtained in the rules induction process itself. In this way, we ensure that these intervals are the most suitable for maximizing the quality measures. An experimental study was carried out to verify the performance of the method. GAR-SD\(^{+}\) was compared with other subgroup discovery methods by evaluating certain measures (such as number of rules, number of attributes, significance, unusualness, support and confidence). For subgroup discovery tasks, GAR-SD\(^{+}\) obtained good results compared with existing algorithms.


Data mining Subgroup discovery Evolutionary algorithms 



This work was partially funded by the Regional Government of Andalusia (Junta de Andalucía, Grant Number TIC-7629) and the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (Grant Number TIN2013-47153-C3-2-R).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors certify that they have no affiliations with or involvement in any organization or entity with any financial interest (such as honoraria; educational grants; participation in speakers? bureaus; membership, employment, consultancies, stock ownership, or other equity interest; and expert testimony or patent-licensing arrangements), or non-financial inter-est (such as personal or professional relationships, affiliations, knowledge or beliefs) in the subject matter or materials discussed in this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Victoria Pachón
    • 1
  • Jacinto Mata
    • 1
  • Juan Luis Domínguez
    • 1
  1. 1.Escuela Técnica Superior de IngenieríaUniversidad de HuelvaHuelvaSpain

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