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The effects of combining classifiers with the same training statistics using Bayesian decision rules

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Multiple classifier systems (MCS) are attracting increasing interest in the field of pattern recognition and machine learning. Recently, MCS are also being introduced in the remote sensing field where the importance of classifier diversity for image classification problems has not been examined. In this article, Satellite Pour l'Observation de la Terre (SPOT) IV panchromatic and multispectral satellite images are classified into six land cover classes using five base classifiers: contextual classifier, k-nearest neighbour classifier, Mahalanobis classifier, maximum likelihood classifier and minimum distance classifier. The five base classifiers are trained with the same feature sets throughout the experiments and a posteriori probability, derived from the confusion matrix of these base classifiers, is applied to five Bayesian decision rules (product rule, sum rule, maximum rule, minimum rule and median rule) for constructing different combinations of classifier ensembles. The performance of these classifier ensembles is evaluated for overall accuracy and kappa statistics. Three statistical tests, the McNemar's test, the Cochran's Q test and the Looney's F-test, are used to examine the diversity of the classification results of the base classifiers compared to the results of the classifier ensembles. The experimental comparison reveals that (a) significant diversity amongst the base classifiers cannot enhance the performance of classifier ensembles; (b) accuracy improvement of classifier ensembles can only be found by using base classifiers with similar and low accuracy; (c) increasing the number of base classifiers cannot improve the overall accuracy of the MCS and (d) none of the Bayesian decision rules outperforms the others.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Civil Engineering,Ryerson University, TorontoOntario, Canada

Publication date: July 10, 2011

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