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Measures for Improving Premature Convergence in Particle Swarm

Optimization for Association Rule Mining


Abstract: Particle Swam Optimization (PSO) has become popular choice for solving
complex problems which are otherwise difficult to solve by traditional methods. One of the
drawbacks of PSO is premature convergence and trapping into local optima. This paper
attempts to avoid premature convergence by modifying the velocity updation function in
PSO. Variants in inertia weight, chaotic operators, neighbourhood selection and self
adaptation of inertia weight through three methods are introduced with velocity update
function to avoid convergence at local optima. The variants when tested on five datasets for
mining Association rules (AR) avoid premature convergence thereby enhancing the
predictive accuracy of the rules mined.
Keywords: Particle Swarm Optimization, Premature Convergence, Inertia weight, Chaotic
operator, Neighbourhood selection, Association Rule.
1.Introduction
Association rule mining is a data mining task that discovers associations among items in a
large database. Association rules have been extensively studied in the literature for their
usefulness in many application domains such as recommender systems, diagnosis decisions
support, telecommunication, intrusion detection, etc. Efficient discovery of such rules has
been a major focus in data mining research.
Apriori algorithm is the most widely represented algorithm for association rule mining. Many
modifications have been made in this algorithm focusing on improvement of its efficiency
and accuracy. However, two parameters, minimal support and confidence, determined by the
decision-maker or trial-and-error identifies that the algorithm lack in both objectiveness and
efficiency. Traditional methods for rule mining namely decision tree, Bayesian classifier and
statistic methods are usually accurate, but the computation complexity could be very high.
Metaheuristic optimization algorithms have been the popular choice for solving complex and
intricate problems which are otherwise difficult to solve by traditional methods [1]. The
Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) algorithm is an evolutionary computation technique and
an important heuristic algorithm in recent years. The mechanism of PSO algorithm is to
mimic the social behaviour of animals such as fish schooling and bird flocking. A potential
solution to the involved problem is depicted with a particle (individual). The particle adjusts
its position by flying with some velocity in the search space. The flying velocity of an
individual depends both on its personal experience and neighbours experience.
Despite having several attractive features, it has been observed that PSO algorithms do not
always perform as per expectations. Particle swarm optimization algorithms can easily get
trapped in the local optima when solving complex multimodal problems. The success of PSO
algorithm to a large extent depends on the careful balancing of two conflicting goals,
exploration (diversification) and exploitation (intensification). While exploration is important
to ensure that every part of the solution domain is searched enough to provide a reliable
estimate of the global optimum; exploitation, on the other hand, is important to concentrate,
the search effort around the best solutions found so far by searching their neighbourhoods to

reach better solutions [2]. Accelerating convergence speed and avoiding the local optima
have become the two most important and appealing goals in PSO research.
Since PSO was proposed, investigations have been made theoretically and experimentally to
analyze and improve PSO. Clerc and Kennedy [7] explored how PSO works from a
mathematical perspective, introduced a constriction factor v to guarantee the convergence of
PSO, and analyzed the trajectory of a single particle in both discrete time and continuous
time. Van den Bergh and Engelbrecht [8] analyzed how the inertia weight and acceleration
constants affect the trajectories of particles and provided theoretical findings on the dynamics
of the PSO systems. These studies provided theoretical supports for the research on the
improvement of PSO. In order to achieve good balanceween exploitation capability and
exploration capability, neighborhood topologies designed for particles are studied. Four
neighborhood topologies comprising circles, wheels, stars and random edges were tested in
[9].
Eberhart and Shi [17] proposed a Random Inertia Weight strategy and experimentally found
that this strategy increases the convergence of PSO in early iterations of the algorithm. In
Global-Local Best Inertia Weight [18], the Inertia Weight is based on the function of local
best and global best of the particles in each generation. It neither takes a constant value nor a
linearly decreasing time-varying value. Using the merits of chaotic optimization, Chaotic
Inertia Weight has been proposed by Feng et al. [19]. A novel rule-based classifier [10]
design method was constructed by using improvised simple swarm optimization, to mine a
thyroid gland dataset from University of California Irvine repository. An elite concept is
added to the proposed method to improve solution quality and close interval encoding is
added to efficiently represent the rule structure.
Yang Shi et al. [6] proposes a cellular particle swarm optimization, hybridizing cellular
automata and particle swarm optimization (PSO) for function optimization. In the proposed
method, a mechanism of Cellular Automata is integrated in the velocity update to modify the
trajectories of particles to avoid being trapped in the local optimum. To prevent the PSO from
premature convergence, many researchers have proposed adaptive or self-adaptive strategies
such as the adaptive variable population size method in Chen and Zhao [20], the self-adaptive
method for generating the particles velocity in Jin et al. [21], and the adaptive inertia weight
method in Nickabadi et al. [22].
This paper analyzes various methods for avoiding local optima (premature) convergence,
thereby resulting in better predictive accuracy of the mined rules. The rest of this paper is
organized as follows. In Section 2, framework of PSO is described. Then Section 3 discusses
the variations introduced in PSO for avoiding premature convergence. Section 4 compares
the results of these variants when applied for association rule mining followed by conclusion
in section 5.

2. Preliminaries
This section will briefly present the general backgrounds of association rule mining and the
particle swarm optimization method, respectively.

2.1 Association rule


In many applications of data mining technology, applying association rules are the most
broadly discussed method. This method is capable of finding interesting associative and
relative characteristics from commercial transaction records and helping decision-makers
formulate business strategy.
The concept of association rule mining was first proposed by Agrawal et al. [4] in 1993. Let
I = {i1, i2, ..., im} be a set of m distinct attributes, T be the transaction that contains a set of
items such that T I, D be a database with different transaction records Ts. An association
rule is an implication in the form of X Y, where X, Y I are sets of items called itemsets,
and X Y = . X is called antecedent while Y is called consequent, the rule means X implies
Y.
However, association rule mining must accord with
confidence.

Support (s) of an association rule is defined as the percentage of records that


contain X Y to the total number of records in the database. It means the support
count does not take the quantity of the item into account.
(

parameters namely support and

(1)

Confidence of an association rule is defined as the percentage of the number of


transactions that contain X Y to the total number of records that contain X. If
the percentage exceeds the threshold of confidence an interesting association rule
X Y can be generated.
(

(2)

Confidence is a measure of strength of the association rules.


2.2 Particle Swarm Optimization
Particle Swarm Optimization algorithm was inspired by the social behaviour of biological
organisms, specifically the ability of groups of some species of animals to work as a whole in
locating desirable positions in a given area, e.g. birds flocking to a food source. This seeking
behaviour is associated with that of an optimization search for solutions to non-linear
equations in a real-valued search space.
In PSO there is a set of particles, called swarm [5], that are possible solutions for the
problem. These particles move through an n-dimensional search space based on their
neighbours best positions and on their own best position. In order to achieve this in each
generation the position and velocity of the particles are updated based on the best position
obtained by that particle and global best position obtained from all particles in the swarm.
The best particles are derived based on the fitness function, which is the problems objective
function.

Each particle p, at some iteration t, has a position x (t), and a displacement velocity v(t). The
particles best (pBest) position p(t) and global best (gBest) position g(t) are stored in the
associated memory. The velocity and position are updated using equations 3 and 4
respectively.
()(

()(

(3)
(4)

Where
vi
is the particle velocity of the ith particle
xi
is the ith, or current, particle
i
is the particles number
d
is the dimension of searching space
rand ( ) is a random number in (0, 1)
c1
is the individual factor
c2
is the societal factor
pBest is the particle best
gBest is the global best
Both c1 and c2 are set to be 2 in all literature works analyzed and hence the same is adopted
here. The velocity vi of each particle is clamped to a maximum velocity vmax which is
specified by the user. vmax determines the resolution with which regions between the present
position and the target position are searched.
The pseudo code for PSO algorithm is given below
For each particle
Initialize particle position and velocity
END
Repeat
For each particle
Calculate fitness value
If the fitness value is better than its personal best
set current value as the new pBest
End
Choose the particle with the best fitness value of all as gBest
For each particle
Calculate particle velocity according equation (3)
Update particle position according equation (4)
End
Until maximum number of iterations or minimum error criteria
The initial population is selected based on fitness value. The velocity and position of all the
particles are set randomly. Based on the fitness function the importance of the particles is
evaluated. The fitness function designed is based on support and confidence of the

association rule. The objective of fitness function is maximization. The fitness function is
shown in equation 5.
( )

( )

( )

( )

(5)

Fitness (k) is the fitness value of association rule type k, confidence (x) is the confidence of
association rule type k and support(x) is the actual support of association rule type k. When
the support and confidence values are larger, then larger is the fitness value meaning that it is
an important association rule.
2.3 Predictive Accuracy
Predictive accuracy measures the effectiveness of the rules mined. The mined rules must have
high predictive accuracy.
(6)
where |X&Y| is the number of records that satisfy both the antecedent X and consequent Y,
|X| is the number of rules satisfying the antecedent X.
3. PSO and its Variants
Particle swarm optimization is based on the intelligence. PSO has no overlapping and
mutation calculation. During the development of several generations, only the most optimist
particle can transmit information onto the other particles. The speed of the searching is very
fast and it occupies the bigger optimization ability, thereby completing easily.
The swarm behaviour varies between exploratory behaviour, that is, searching a broader
region of the search-space, and exploitative behaviour, that is, a locally oriented search so as
to get closer to a (possibly local) optimum. The PSO algorithm and its parameters must be
chosen properly to balance between exploration and exploitation to avoid premature
convergence to a local optimum and yet also ensures a good rate of convergence to the
optimum. To avoid premature convergence at local optima Particle swarm optimization
variants are proposed and tested for mining association rules.
Variations have been introduced in velocity updation function to ensure convergence towards
global optima rather than local optima.
3.1 Particle Swarm Optimization with Inertia Weight
Inertia weight is added to the velocity update function and the equation 3 is modified as
()(

()(

(7)

where is the inertia weight factor. The inertia weight


is employed to control the impact
of the previous history of velocities on the current velocity, thus to influence the trade-off
between global (wide-ranging) and local (nearby) exploration abilities of the "flying points".
A larger inertia weight facilitates global exploration (searching new areas) while a smaller
inertia weight tends to facilitate local exploration to fine-tune the current search area. Suitable
selection of the inertia weight can provide a balance between global and local exploration
abilities and thus require less iteration on average to find the optimum.

3.2. Chaotic Particle Swarm Optimization


The canonical PSO tends to struck at local optima and thereby leading to premature
convergence when applied for solving practical problems. To improve the global searching
capability and escape from local optima chaos is introduced in PSO [14]. Chaos is a
deterministic dynamic system which is very sensitive and dependent on its initial conditions
and parameters. The common method of generating chaotic behaviour is based on Zaslavskii
map[15]. This representation of map involves many variables. Setting right values for all
these variables involved increases the complexity of the system. Erroneous values might bring
down the accuracy of the system involved. Logistic map and tent map are also most
frequently used chaotic behaviour. The drawback of these maps is that the range of values
generated by both the maps after some iteration becomes fixed to a particular range. To
overcome this defect the tent map undisturbed by the logistic map [16] is introduced as the
chaotic behaviour. The new chaotic map model is proposed with the following equation.
(
{

)
(

(8)

)
(

The initial value of u0 and v0 are set to 0.1. The slight tuning of initial values of u0 and v 0
creates wide range of values with good distribution. The chaotic operator chaotic_operator(k)
= vk is designed therefore to generate different chaotic operators by tuning u0 and v0. The
value of u0 is set to two different values for generating the chaotic operators 1 and 2.
The velocity updation equation based on chaotic PSO is given in equation 9.
(
)
(
)

( )

3.3 Neighbourhood Selection in PSO


In the original PSO, two kinds of neighbourhoods are defined for PSO:

In the gBest swarm, all the particles are neighbours of each other; thus, the position of
the best overall particle in the swarm is used in the social term of the velocity update
equation. The gBest swarms converge fast, as all the particles are attracted
simultaneously to the best part of the search space. However, if the global optimum is
not close to the best particle, it may be impossible to the swarm to explore other areas;
this means that the swarm can be trapped in local optima.
In the lBest swarm, only a specific number of particles (neighbour count) affect the
velocity of a given particle. The swarm will converge slower but can locate the global
optimum with a greater chance.

As the local best (lBest) value leads to convergence at the global optima the lBest value is
selected from neighbourhood values rather than the particles best values so far. The
neighbourhood best (lBest) selection is done as follows;

Calculate the distance of the current particle from other particles by equation 10.
(

(10)

Find the nearest m particles as the neighbour of the current particle based on distance
calculated
Choose the local optimum lBest among the neighbourhood in terms of fitness values

The number of neighbourhood particles m is set to 2. Velocity and position updation of


particles are based on equation 3 and 4. The velocity updation is restricted to maximum
velocity Vmax set by the user. The termination condition is set as fixed number of
generations.
3.4 Self Adaptive Particle Swarm Optimization (SAPSO1 and SAPSO2)
The original PSO has pretty good convergence ability, but suffers with the demerit of
premature convergence [11], due to the loss of diversity [12]. Improving the exploration
ability of PSO has been an active research topic in recent years. Thus, the proposed algorithm
introduces the concept of self-adaptation as the primary key to tune the two basic rules
velocity and position. Effectively, reinforcing a PSO implies improving the inertia weight
formulae and thereby maintaining diversity of population. The basic PSO, presented by
Eberhart and Kennedy in 1995 [3], has no Inertia Weight. In 1998, first time Shi and Eberhart
[13] presented the concept of Inertia Weight by introducing Constant Inertia Weight.
By looking at equation (3) more closely, it can be seen that the maximum velocity allowed
actually serves as a constraint that controls the maximum global exploration ability PSO can
have. By setting a too small maximum velocity allowed, maximum global exploration ability
is limited, and PSO will always favour a local search no matter what the inertia weight is. By
setting a large maximum velocity allowed, the PSO can have a large range of exploration
ability to select by selecting the inertia weight. Since the maximum velocity allowed affects
global exploration ability indirectly and the inertia weight affects it directly, it will generally
be better to control global exploration ability through inertia weight only. A way to do that is
to allow inertia weight itself to control exploration ability. Thus the inertia weight is made
self adaptive. Two self adaptive inertia weights are introduced for mining association rules in
this paper.
In order to linearly decrease the inertia weight as iteration progress the inertia weight is made
adaptive through the equation 11 in SAPSO1.
(

(11)

Where
and
are the maximum and minimum inertia weights, g is the generation
index and G is the predefined maximum number of generation.
In SAPSO2 the inertia weight adaptation is made to depend upon the values from previous
generation so as to linearly decrease its value with increasing iterations as shown in equation
12.
(

( )

(12)

) is the inertia weight for the current generation, ( ) is the inertia weight for
Where (
the previous generation,
and
are the maximum and minimum inertia weights and
G is the predefined maximum number of generation.
The steps in self adaptive PSO1 and PSO 2 are as follows.
Step1: Initialize the position and velocity of particles.
Step 2: The importance of each particle is studied utilizing fitness function. Fitness value is
evaluated using the fitness function. The objective of the fitness function is maximization.
Equation 13 describes the fitness function.
( )

( )

( )

( )

(13)

where fitness(x) is the fitness value of the association rule type x, support(x) and
confidence(x) are as described in equation 1 and 2 and length(x) is length of the association
rule type x. If the support and confidence factors are larger then, greater is the strength of the
rule with more importance.
Step 3: Get the local best and particle best for the swarm. The local best is the best fitness
attained by the individual particle till present iteration and the overall best fitness attained by
all the particles so far is the global best value.
Step 4: Set max as 0.9 and min as 0.4 and find the adaptive weights for both SAPSO1 and
SAPSO2. Update velocity of the particles using equation 5.
Step 5: Update position of the particles using equation 6.
Step 6: Terminate if the condition is met.
Step 7: Go to step 2.
3.5 Self Adaptive Chaotic Particle Swarm Optimization (SACPSO)
The major drawback of standard PSO lies in its premature convergence, especially while
handling problems with many local optima. Based on the standard PSO, a novel chaotic
operator is introduced with the expectation of keeping the local diversity, as well as
enhancing the reliability of the algorithm. The velocity of each particle is updated by the
following equation:
[

[ ]

[ ]

[ ])

[ ]

[ ])

(14)

where, chaotic_operator is an iterative value as chaotic mapping. The chaotic operators are
generated based on equation 8. The use of a fixed inertia weight does not have an impact on
the global and local search. When value is greater, it could undermine the search space's
excellent solutions, the algorithm does not even slow down the convergence. Hence, a
method of adaptive system optimization, where is made dynamic is proposed as given in
equation 11.

4. Evaluation Results and Discussion


To test the performance of the variants of PSO for mining association rules, computational
experiments were carried out on the well-known benchmark datasets from University of
California Irvine (UCI) repository. The experiments were carried out in Java on windows
platform. The datasets considered for the experiments is listed in Table 1.
Table 1. Datasets Description
Dataset

Attributes

Instances

4
6
3
8
16

24
1728
310
87
101

Lenses
Car Evaluation
Habermans Survival
Post-operative Patient Care
Zoo

Attribute
characteristics
Categorical
Categorical, Integer
Integer
Categorical, Integer
Categorical, Binary,
Integer

The initial parameters set for the evaluation is listed in Table 2.


Table 2. Parameter values set for the Experiment
Dataset
Lenses
Car
Evaluation
Habermans
Survival
Postoperative
Patient Care
Zoo

Swarm
Size
24
700

C1

C2

2
2

2
2

300

87

101

Inertia
Weight
0.2
0.4

Generations

max

min

100
100

0.9
0.9

0.4
0.4

0.4

100

0.9

0.4

0.3

100

0.9

0.4

0.3

100

0.9

0.4

Balancing between exploration and exploitation is carried out using the variants of PSO
proposed and the results for the five datasets are plotted in figures 1 to 5
.
100
95
90
85
80
75
70
65
60
55
50
45

Predictive Accuracy (%)

PSO
WPSO
CPSO
NPSO
SAPSO1
SAPSO2
SACPSO
10

20

30

40

50

60

No. of Iterations

70

80

90

100

Figure 1. Convergence of Predictive Accuracy for Lens Dataset


102
100
Predictive Accuracy

98
PSO

96

WPSO

94

CPSO

92

NPSO

90

SAPSO1

88

SAPSO2

86
84
10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

90

100

No.of Iterations

Figure 2. Convergence of Predictive Accuracy for Car Evaluation Dataset

Predictive Accuracy (%)

100
90
PSO
WPSO
CPSO
NPSO
SAPSO1
SAPSO2
SACPSO

80
70
60
10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

90

100

No. of Iterations

Figure 3. Convergence of Predictive Accuracy for Habermans Survival Dataset

Predictive Accuracy (%)

100
90
PSO
WPSO
CPSO
NPSO
SAPSO1
SAPSO2
SACPSO

80
70
60
50
40

10

20

30

40
50
60
70
No. of Iterations

80

90

100

Figure4. Convergence of Predictive Accuracy for Post Operative Patient Care Dataset

Predictive Accuracy (%)

100
90
80

PSO
WPSO

70

CPSO
NPSO

60

SAPSO1

50

SAPSO2
SACPSO

40
10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

90 100

No. of Iterations

Figure 5. Convergence of Predictive Accuracy for Zoo Dataset


The Self adaptive variants SAPSO1, SAPSO2 and SACPSO give consistent performance
when compared to other variants throughout the generations. The predictive accuracy
achieved by applying these self adaptive methods for association rule mining is better when
compared to the normal variants. The traditional particle swam optimization method when
applied for AR mining converges at very early stage for all the datasets. The performance of
WPSO, CPSO and NPSO varies from dataset to dataset. It is consistent for Zoo and Post
operative patient care datasets while inconsistent for Lenses, Habermans survival and Car
evaluation datasets.
The scope of introducing the variants in PSO is to avoid premature convergence and in turn
increase the predictive accuracy of the mined rules. The predictive accuracy is plotted for the
variants of PSO for all the five datasets in figure 6.
100

Predictive Accuracy (%)

95
PSO
90

CPSO
NPSO
WPSO

85

SAPSO2
SAPSO1
80

SACPSO

75
Lenses

Car Evaluation Habermans Po-opert Care


Survival

Zoo

Figure 6. Predictive Accuracy comparison for PSO Variants


The variants of PSO perform better when compared to traditional PSO for mining association
rules. In terms of predictive accuracy the self adaptive methods SAPSO1, SAPSO2 and

SACPSO perform better than the normal PSO variants CPSO, WPSO and NPSO. The
weighted PSO gives better performance for all the datasets among the chaotic PSO and
neighbourhood selection PSO.
The iteration at which maximum predictive accuracy attained for the five datasets by
applying the variants of PSO in association rule mining is shown in figure 7.
100
90
80
PSO

70
Iteration

WPSO
60

CPSO

50

NPSO

40

SAPSO1

30

SAPSO2

20

SACPSO

10
0
Lenses

Car Evaluation

Habermans
Survival

Po-opert Care

Zoo

Figure 7. Convergence rate comparison for PSO variants


The convergence rate varies from dataset to dataset for all the methods. The method in which
the convergence at local optima is avoided generates association rules with maximum
accuracy. This could be noted from figures 6 and 7.
The variants of PSO attempt to avoid convergence at the local optima by balancing between
exploration and exploitation. The predictive accuracy achieved by the variants is also
enhanced for all the datasets. The inertia weight, chaotic operators, neighborhood selection
and adapting the inertia weight dynamically, introduced in velocity updation function
maintains the balancing of convergence at local optima and deviation from global optima.
The self adaptive methods perform better than other methods.
5. Conclusion
Association rule mining is one of the most important tasks in data mining community because
the data being generated and stored in databases are already enormous and continues to grow
very fast. Particle Swarm Optimization algorithm mimics the social behaviour instead of
survival of fitness used in most of evolution algorithms. This principle reduces the time
complexity of PSO when compared to other algorithms. The convergence at local optima also
tends to reduce the time complexity.
In this paper inertia weight, chaotic operators, Neighbourhood selection and two adaptive
methods for inertia weight are introduced in the velocity updation function. These variants
when applied for association rule mining results in increased predictive accuracy for all the
five datasets used. The shift in convergence rate is achieved by avoiding convergence at local
optima though the variants of PSO. This also enhances the efficiency of the rules mined.

When compared to PSO the PSO variants perform better both in terms of predictive accuracy
and balancing between exploration and exploitation. The three self adaptive methods
SAPSO1, SAPSO2 and SACPSO exhibit consistent performance for all the datasets. The
inertia weight factor performs better among the other PSO variants. The behaviour of Chaotic
PSO and neighbourhood selection in PSO varies from dataset to dataset depending on the
attributes involved and its values.
Avoiding exploitation at global search and testing on more datasets could be taken up for
further exploration.
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