CCE Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science (CISD)


Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences


Wei Li

Committee Member

James D Cannady

Committee Member

Sumitra Mukherjee


Bayesian Belief Networks, Interestingness based Bayesian Outlier eXplainer, Interestingness Measures, Machine Learning, Outlier Analysis, Probabilistic Graphical Models


This research explores the potential of improving the explainability of outliers using Bayesian Belief Networks as background knowledge. Outliers are deviations from the usual trends of data. Mining outliers may help discover potential anomalies and fraudulent activities. Meaningful outliers can be retrieved and analyzed by using domain knowledge. Domain knowledge (or background knowledge) is represented using probabilistic graphical models such as Bayesian belief networks. Bayesian networks are graph-based representation used to model and encode mutual relationships between entities. Due to their probabilistic graphical nature, Belief Networks are an ideal way to capture the sensitivity, causal inference, uncertainty and background knowledge in real world data sets. Bayesian Networks effectively present the causal relationships between different entities (nodes) using conditional probability. This probabilistic relationship shows the degree of belief between entities. A quantitative measure which computes changes in this degree of belief acts as a sensitivity measure .

The first contribution of this research is enhancing the performance for measurement of sensitivity based on earlier research work, the Interestingness Filtering Engine Miner algorithm. The algorithm developed (IBOX - Interestingness based Bayesian outlier eXplainer) provides progressive improvement in the performance and sensitivity scoring of earlier works. Earlier approaches compute sensitivity by measuring divergence among conditional probability of training and test data, while using only couple of probabilistic interestingness measures such as Mutual information and Support to calculate belief sensitivity. With ingrained support from the literature as well as quantitative evidence, IBOX provides a framework to use multiple interestingness measures resulting in better performance and improved sensitivity analysis. The results provide improved performance, and therefore explainability of rare class entities. This research quantitatively validated probabilistic interestingness measures as an effective sensitivity analysis technique in rare class mining. This results in a novel, original, and progressive research contribution to the areas of probabilistic graphical models and outlier analysis.

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