# 1 Exploratory Data Analysis

Listening to the numbers :)

## 1.1 Profiling, The voice of the numbers

âThe voice of the numbersâ â a metaphor by Eduardo Galeano. Writer and novelist.

The data we explore could be like Egyptian hieroglyphs without a correct interpretation. Profiling is the very first step in a series of iterative stages in the pursuit of finding what the data want to tell us, if we are patient enough to listen.

This chapter will cover, with a few functions, a complete data profiling. This should be the entry step in a data project, where we start by knowing the correct data types and exploring distributions in numerical and categorical variables.

It also focuses on the extraction of semantic conclusions, which is useful when writing a report for non-technical people.

**What are we going to review in this chapter?**

**Dataset health status**:- Getting metrics like total rows, columns, data types, zeros, and missing values
- How each of the previous items impacts on different analysis
- How to quickly filter and operate on (and with) them, to clean the data

**Univariate analysis in categorical variable**:- Frequency, percentage, cumulative value, and colorful plots

**Univariate analysis with numerical variables**:- Percentile, dispersion, standard deviation, mean, top and bottom values
- Percentile vs.Â quantile vs.Â quartile
- Kurtosis, skewness, inter-quartile range, variation coefficient
- Plotting distributions
- Complete
**case study**based on*âData Worldâ*, data preparation, and data analysis

Functions summary review in the chapter:

`df_status(data)`

: Profiling dataset structure`describe(data)`

: Numerical and categorical profiling (quantitative)`freq(data)`

: Categorical profiling (quantitative and plot).`profiling_num(data)`

: Profiling for numerical variables (quantitative)`plot_num(data)`

: Profiling for numerical variables (plots)

Note: `describe`

is in the `Hmisc`

package while remaining functions are in `funModeling.`

đ **Update!** This book is available for download đđ„.

### 1.1.1 Dataset health status

The quantity of zeros, NA, Inf, unique values as well as the data type may lead to a good or bad model. Hereâs an approach to cover the very first step in data modeling.

First, we load the `funModeling`

and `dplyr`

libraries.

```
# Loading funModeling!
library(funModeling)
library(dplyr)
data(heart_disease)
```

#### 1.1.1.1 Checking missing values, zeros, data type, and unique values

Probably one of the first steps, when we get a new dataset to analyze, is to know if there are missing values (`NA`

in **R**) and the data type.

The `df_status`

function coming in `funModeling`

can help us by showing these numbers in relative and percentage values. It also retrieves the infinite and zeros statistics.

```
# Profiling the data input
df_status(heart_disease)
```

`q_zeros`

: quantity of zeros (`p_zeros`

: in percent)`q_inf`

: quantity of infinite values (`p_inf`

: in percent)`q_na`

: quantity of NA (`p_na`

: in percent)`type`

: factor or numeric`unique`

: quantity of unique values

#### 1.1.1.2 Why are these metrics important?

**Zeros**: Variables with**lots of zeros**may not be useful for modeling and, in some cases, they may dramatically bias the model.**NA**: Several models automatically exclude rows with NA (**random forest**for example). As a result, the final model can be biased due to several missing rows because of only one variable. For example, if the data contains only one out of 100 variables with 90% of NAs, the model will be training with only 10% of the original rows.**Inf**: Infinite values may lead to an unexpected behavior in some functions in R.**Type**: Some variables are encoded as numbers, but they are codes or categories and the models**donât handle them**in the same way.**Unique**: Factor/categorical variables with a high number of different values (~30) tend to do overfitting if the categories have low cardinality (**decision trees,**for example).

#### 1.1.1.3 Filtering unwanted cases

The function `df_status`

takes a data frame and returns a *status table* that can help us quickly remove features (or variables) based on all the metrics described in the last section. For example:

**Removing variables with a high number of zeros**

```
# Profiling the Data Input
my_data_status = df_status(heart_disease, print_results = F)
# Removing variables with 60% of zero values
vars_to_remove = filter(my_data_status, p_zeros > 60) %>%
.$variable
vars_to_remove
```

`## [1] "fasting_blood_sugar" "exer_angina" "exter_angina"`

```
# Keeping all columns except the ones present in
# 'vars_to_remove' vector
heart_disease_2 = select(heart_disease, -one_of(vars_to_remove))
```

**Ordering data by percentage of zeros**

```
arrange(my_data_status, -p_zeros) %>% select(variable,
q_zeros, p_zeros)
```

```
## variable q_zeros p_zeros
## 1 fasting_blood_sugar 258 85.15
## 2 exer_angina 204 67.33
## 3 exter_angina 204 67.33
## 4 num_vessels_flour 176 58.09
## 5 heart_disease_severity 164 54.13
## 6 resting_electro 151 49.83
## 7 oldpeak 99 32.67
## 8 age 0 0.00
## 9 gender 0 0.00
## 10 chest_pain 0 0.00
## 11 resting_blood_pressure 0 0.00
## 12 serum_cholestoral 0 0.00
## 13 max_heart_rate 0 0.00
## 14 slope 0 0.00
## 15 thal 0 0.00
## 16 has_heart_disease 0 0.00
```

The same reasoning applies when we want to remove (or keep) those variables above or below a certain threshold. Please check the missing values chapter to get more information about the implications when dealing with variables containing missing values.

#### 1.1.1.4 Going deep into these topics

Values returned by `df_status`

are deeply covered in other chapters:

**Missing values**(NA) treatment, analysis, and imputation are deeply covered in the Missing Data chapter.**Data type**, its conversions and implications when handling different data types and more are covered in the Data Types chapter.- A high number of
**unique values**is synonymous for high-cardinality variables. This situation is studied in both chapters:

#### 1.1.1.5 Getting other common statistics: **total rows**, **total columns** and **column names**:

```
# Total rows
nrow(heart_disease)
```

`## [1] 303`

```
# Total columns
ncol(heart_disease)
```

`## [1] 16`

```
# Column names
colnames(heart_disease)
```

```
## [1] "age" "gender" "chest_pain"
## [4] "resting_blood_pressure" "serum_cholestoral" "fasting_blood_sugar"
## [7] "resting_electro" "max_heart_rate" "exer_angina"
## [10] "oldpeak" "slope" "num_vessels_flour"
## [13] "thal" "heart_disease_severity" "exter_angina"
## [16] "has_heart_disease"
```

### 1.1.2 Profiling categorical variables

*Make sure you have the latest âfunModelingâ version (>= 1.6).*

Frequency or distribution analysis is made simple by the `freq`

function. This retrieves the distribution in a table and a plot (by default) and shows the distribution of absolute and relative numbers.

If you want the distribution for two variables:

`freq(data = heart_disease, str_input = c("thal", "chest_pain"))`

```
## thal frequency percentage cumulative_perc
## 1 3 166 54.79 54.79
## 2 7 117 38.61 93.40
## 3 6 18 5.94 99.34
## 4 <NA> 2 0.66 100.00
```

```
## chest_pain frequency percentage cumulative_perc
## 1 4 144 47.52 47.52
## 2 3 86 28.38 75.90
## 3 2 50 16.50 92.40
## 4 1 23 7.59 100.00
```

`## [1] "Variables processed: thal, chest_pain"`

As well as in the remaining `funModeling`

functions, if `str_input`

is missing, then it will run for all factor or character variables present in a given data frame:

`freq(data = heart_disease)`

If we only want to print the table excluding the plot, then we set the `plot`

parameter to `FALSE`

. The `freq`

example can also handle a **single variable** as an input. By *default*, `NA`

values **are considered** in both the table and the plot. If it is needed to exclude the `NA`

then set `na.rm = FALSE`

. Both examples in the following line:

`freq(data = heart_disease$thal, plot = FALSE, na.rm = FALSE)`

If only one variable is provided, then `freq`

returns the printed table; thus, it is easy to perform some calculations based on the variables it provides.

- For example, to print the categories that represent most of the 80% of the share (based on
`cumulative_perc < 80`

). - To get the categories belonging to the
**long tail**, i.e., filtering by`percentage < 1`

by retrieving those categories appearing less than 1% of the time.

In addition, as with the other plot functions in the package, if there is a need to export plots, then add the `path_out`

parameter, which will create the folder if itâs not yet created.

`freq(data = heart_disease, path_out = "my_folder")`

##### 1.1.2.0.1 Analysis

The output is ordered by the `frequency`

variable, which quickly analyzes the most frequent categories and how many shares they represent (`cummulative_perc`

variable). In general terms, we as human beings like order. If the variables are not ordered, then our eyes start moving over all the bars to do the comparison and our brains place each bar in relation to the other bars.

Check the difference for the same data input, first without order and then with order:

Generally, there are just a few categories that appear most of the time.

A more complete analysis is in High Cardinality Variable in Descriptive Stats

#### 1.1.2.1 Introducing the `describe`

function

This function comes in the `Hmisc`

package and allows us to quickly profile a complete dataset for both numerical and categorical variables. In this case, weâll select only two variables and we will analyze the result.

```
# Just keeping two variables to use in this example
heart_disease_3 = select(heart_disease, thal, chest_pain)
# Profiling the data!
describe(heart_disease_3)
```

```
## heart_disease_3
##
## 2 Variables 303 Observations
## --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
## thal
## n missing distinct
## 301 2 3
##
## Value 3 6 7
## Frequency 166 18 117
## Proportion 0.551 0.060 0.389
## --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
## chest_pain
## n missing distinct
## 303 0 4
##
## Value 1 2 3 4
## Frequency 23 50 86 144
## Proportion 0.076 0.165 0.284 0.475
## --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
```

Where:

`n`

: quantity of non-`NA`

rows. In this case, it indicates there are`301`

patients containing a number.`missing`

: number of missing values. Summing this indicator to`n`

gives us the total number of rows.`unique`

: number of unique (or distinct) values.

The other information is pretty similar to the `freq`

function and returns between parentheses the total number in relative and absolute values for each different category.

### 1.1.3 Profiling numerical variables

This section is separated into two parts:

- Part 1: Introducing the âWorld Dataâ case study
- Part 2: Doing the numerical profiling in R

If you donât wanât to know how the data preparation stage from Data World is calculated, then you can jump to âPart 2: Doing the numerical profiling in Râ, when the profiling started.

#### 1.1.3.1 Part 1: Introducing the World Data case study

This contains many indicators regarding world development. Regardless the profiling example, the idea is to provide a ready-to-use table for sociologists, researchers, etc. interested in analyzing this kind of data.

The original data source is: http://databank.worldbank.org. There you will find a data dictionary that explains all the variables.

First, we have to do some data wrangling. We are going to keep with the newest value per indicator.

```
library(Hmisc)
# Loading data from the book repository without
# altering the format
data_world = read.csv(file = "https://goo.gl/2TrDgN",
header = T, stringsAsFactors = F, na.strings = "..")
# Excluding missing values in Series.Code. The data
# downloaded from the web page contains four lines
# with 'free-text' at the bottom of the file.
data_world = filter(data_world, Series.Code != "")
# The magical function that keeps the newest values
# for each metric. If you're not familiar with R,
# then skip it.
max_ix <- function(d) {
ix = which(!is.na(d))
res = ifelse(length(ix) == 0, NA, d[max(ix)])
return(res)
}
data_world$newest_value = apply(data_world[, 5:ncol(data_world)],
1, FUN = max_ix)
# Printing the first three rows
head(data_world, 3)
```

```
## Series.Name Series.Code
## 1 Population living in slums (% of urban population) EN.POP.SLUM.UR.ZS
## 2 Population living in slums (% of urban population) EN.POP.SLUM.UR.ZS
## 3 Population living in slums (% of urban population) EN.POP.SLUM.UR.ZS
## Country.Name Country.Code X1990..YR1990. X2000..YR2000. X2007..YR2007.
## 1 Afghanistan AFG NA NA NA
## 2 Albania ALB NA NA NA
## 3 Algeria DZA 11.8 NA NA
## X2008..YR2008. X2009..YR2009. X2010..YR2010. X2011..YR2011. X2012..YR2012.
## 1 NA NA NA NA NA
## 2 NA NA NA NA NA
## 3 NA NA NA NA NA
## X2013..YR2013. X2014..YR2014. X2015..YR2015. X2016..YR2016. newest_value
## 1 NA 62.7 NA NA 62.7
## 2 NA NA NA NA NA
## 3 NA NA NA NA 11.8
```

The columns `Series.Name`

and `Series.Code`

are the indicators to be analyzed. `Country.Name`

and `Country.Code`

are the countries. Each row represents a unique combination of country and indicator. Remaining columns, `X1990..YR1990.`

(year 1990),`X2000..YR2000.`

(year 2000), `X2007..YR2007.`

(year 2007), and so on indicate the metric value for that year, thus each column is a year.

#### 1.1.3.2 Making a data scientist decision

There are many `NAs`

because some countries donât have the measure of the indicator in those years. At this point, we need to **make a decision** as a data scientist. Probably no the optimal if we donât ask to an expert, e.g., a sociologist.

What to do with the `NA`

values? In this case, we are going to to keep with the **newest value** for all the indicators. Perhaps this is not the best way to extract conclusions for a paper as we are going to compare some countries with information up to 2016 while other countries will be updated only to 2009. To compare all the indicators with the newest data is a valid approach for the first analysis.

Another solution could have been to keep with the newest value, but only if this number belongs to the last five years. This would reduce the number of countries to analyze.

These questions are impossible to answer for an *artificial intelligence system*, yet the decision can change the results dramatically.

**The last transformation**

The next step will convert the last table from *long* to *wide* format. In other words, each row will represent a country and each column an indicator (thanks to the last transformation that has the *newest value* for each combination of indicator-country).

The indicator names are unclear, so we will âtranslateâ a few of them.

```
# Get the list of indicator descriptions.
names = unique(select(data_world, Series.Name, Series.Code))
head(names, 5)
```

```
## Series.Name Series.Code
## 1 Population living in slums (% of urban population) EN.POP.SLUM.UR.ZS
## 218 Income share held by second 20% SI.DST.02ND.20
## 435 Income share held by third 20% SI.DST.03RD.20
## 652 Income share held by fourth 20% SI.DST.04TH.20
## 869 Income share held by highest 20% SI.DST.05TH.20
```

```
# Convert a few
df_conv_world = data.frame(new_name = c("urban_poverty_headcount",
"rural_poverty_headcount", "gini_index", "pop_living_slums",
"poverty_headcount_1.9"), Series.Code = c("SI.POV.URHC",
"SI.POV.RUHC", "SI.POV.GINI", "EN.POP.SLUM.UR.ZS",
"SI.POV.DDAY"), stringsAsFactors = F)
# adding the new indicator value
data_world_2 = left_join(data_world, df_conv_world,
by = "Series.Code", all.x = T)
data_world_2 = mutate(data_world_2, Series.Code_2 = ifelse(!is.na(new_name),
as.character(data_world_2$new_name), data_world_2$Series.Code))
```

Any indicator meaning can be checked in data.worldbank.org. For example, if we want to know what `EN.POP.SLUM.UR.ZS`

means, then we type: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EN.POP.SLUM.UR.ZS

```
# The package 'reshape2' contains both 'dcast' and
# 'melt' functions
library(reshape2)
data_world_wide = dcast(data_world_2, Country.Name ~
Series.Code_2, value.var = "newest_value")
```

Note: To understand more about `long`

and `wide`

format using `reshape2`

package, and how to convert from one to another, please go to http://seananderson.ca/2013/10/19/reshape.html.

Now we have the final table to analyze:

```
# Printing the first three rows
head(data_world_wide, 3)
```

```
## Country.Name gini_index pop_living_slums poverty_headcount_1.9
## 1 Afghanistan NA 62.7 NA
## 2 Albania 28.96 NA 1.06
## 3 Algeria NA 11.8 NA
## rural_poverty_headcount SI.DST.02ND.20 SI.DST.03RD.20 SI.DST.04TH.20
## 1 38.3 NA NA NA
## 2 15.3 13.17 17.34 22.81
## 3 4.8 NA NA NA
## SI.DST.05TH.20 SI.DST.10TH.10 SI.DST.FRST.10 SI.DST.FRST.20 SI.POV.2DAY
## 1 NA NA NA NA NA
## 2 37.82 22.93 3.66 8.85 6.79
## 3 NA NA NA NA NA
## SI.POV.GAP2 SI.POV.GAPS SI.POV.NAGP SI.POV.NAHC SI.POV.RUGP SI.POV.URGP
## 1 NA NA 8.4 35.8 9.3 5.6
## 2 1.43 0.22 2.9 14.3 3.0 2.9
## 3 NA NA NA 5.5 0.8 1.1
## SI.SPR.PC40 SI.SPR.PC40.ZG SI.SPR.PCAP SI.SPR.PCAP.ZG urban_poverty_headcount
## 1 NA NA NA NA 27.6
## 2 4.08 -1.2205 7.41 -1.3143 13.6
## 3 NA NA NA NA 5.8
```

#### 1.1.3.3 Part 2: Doing the numerical profiling in R

We will see the following functions: * `describe`

from `Hmisc`

* `profiling_num`

(full univariate analysis), and `plot_num`

(hisotgrams) from `funModeling`

Weâll pick up only two variables as an example:

```
library(Hmisc) # contains the `describe` function
vars_to_profile = c("gini_index", "poverty_headcount_1.9")
data_subset = select(data_world_wide, one_of(vars_to_profile))
# Using the `describe` on a complete dataset. # It
# can be run with one variable; for example,
# describe(data_subset$poverty_headcount_1.9)
describe(data_subset)
```

```
## data_subset
##
## 2 Variables 217 Observations
## --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
## gini_index
## n missing distinct Info Mean Gmd .05 .10
## 140 77 136 1 38.8 9.594 26.81 27.58
## .25 .50 .75 .90 .95
## 32.35 37.69 43.92 50.47 53.53
##
## lowest : 24.09 25.59 25.90 26.12 26.13, highest: 56.24 60.46 60.79 60.97 63.38
## --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
## poverty_headcount_1.9
## n missing distinct Info Mean Gmd .05 .10
## 116 101 107 1 18.33 23.56 0.025 0.075
## .25 .50 .75 .90 .95
## 1.052 6.000 33.815 54.045 67.328
##
## lowest : 0.00 0.01 0.03 0.04 0.06, highest: 68.64 68.74 70.91 77.08 77.84
## --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
```

Taking `poverty_headcount_1.9`

(*Poverty headcount ratio at $1.90 a day is the percentage of the population living on less than $1.90 a day at 2011 international prices.*), we can describe it as:

`n`

: quantity of non-`NA`

rows. In this case, it indicates`116`

countries that contain a number.`missing`

: number of missing values. Summing this indicator to`n`

gives us the total number of rows. Almost half of the countries have no data.`unique`

: number of unique (or distinct) values.`Info`

: an estimator of the amount of information present in the variable and not important at this point.`Mean`

: the classical mean or average.- Numbers:
`.05`

,`.10`

,`.25`

,`.50`

,`.75`

,`.90`

and`.95`

stand for the percentiles. These values are really useful since it helps us to describe the distribution. It will be deeply covered later on, i.e.,`.05`

is the 5th percentile. `lowest`

and`highest`

: the five lowest/highest values. Here, we can spot outliers and data errors. For example, if the variable represents a percentage, then it cannot contain negative values.

The next function is `profiling_num`

which takes a data frame and retrieves a *big* table, easy to get overwhelmed in a *sea of metrics*. This is similar to what we can see in the movie *The Matrix*.

The idea of the following table is to give to the user a **full set of metrics,**, for then, she or he can decide which ones to pick for the study.

Note: Every metric has a lot of statistical theory behind it. Here weâll be covering just a tiny and **oversimplified** approach to introduce the concepts.

```
library(funModeling)
# Full numerical profiling in one function
# automatically excludes non-numerical variables
profiling_num(data_world_wide)
```

Each indicator has *its raison dâĂȘtre*:

`variable`

: variable name`mean`

: the well-known mean or average`std_dev`

: standard deviation, a measure of**dispersion**or**spread**around the mean value. A value around`0`

means almost no variation (thus, it seems more like a constant); on the other side, it is harder to set what*high*is, but we can tell that the higher the variation the greater the spread.*Chaos may look like infinite standard variation*. The unit is the same as the mean so that it can be compared.`variation_coef`

: variation coefficient=`std_dev`

/`mean`

. Because the`std_dev`

is an absolute number, itâs good to have an indicator that puts it in a relative number, comparing the`std_dev`

against the`mean`

A value of`0.22`

indicates the`std_dev`

is 22% of the`mean`

If it were close to`0`

then the variable tends to be more centered around the mean. If we compare two classifiers, then we may prefer the one with less`std_dev`

and`variation_coef`

on its accuracy.`p_01`

,`p_05`

,`p_25`

,`p_50`

,`p_75`

,`p_95`

,`p_99`

:**Percentiles**at 1%, 5%, 25%, and so on. Later on in this chapter is a complete review about percentiles.

For a full explanation about percentiles, please go to: Annex 1: The magic of percentiles.

`skewness`

: is a measure of*asymmetry*. Close to**0**indicates that the distribution is*equally*distributed (or symmetrical) around its mean. A**positive number**implies a long tail on the right, whereas a**negative number**means the opposite. After this section, check the skewness in the plots. The variable`pop_living_slums`

is close to 0 (âequallyâ distributed),`poverty_headcount_1.9`

is positive (tail on the right), and`SI.DST.04TH.20`

is negative (tail on the left). The further the skewness is from 0 the more likely the distribution is to have**outliers**`kurtosis`

: describes the distribution**tails**; keeping it simple, a higher number may indicate the presence of outliers (just as weâll see later for the variable`SI.POV.URGP`

holding an outlier around the value`50`

For a complete skewness and kurtosis review, check Refs. (McNeese 2016) and (Handbook 2013).`iqr`

: the inter-quartile range is the result of looking at percentiles`0.25`

and`0.75`

and indicates, in the same variable unit, the dispersion length of 50% of the values. The higher the value the more sparse the variable.`range_98`

and`range_80`

: indicates the range where`98%`

of the values are. It removes the bottom and top 1% (thus, the`98%`

number). It is good to know the variable range without potential outliers. For example,`pop_living_slums`

goes from`0`

to`76.15`

Itâs**more robust**than comparing the**min**and**max**values. The`range_80`

is the same as the`range_98`

but without the bottom and top`10%`

`iqr`

, `range_98`

and `range_80`

are based on percentiles, which weâll be covering later in this chapter.

**Important**: All the metrics are calculated having removed the `NA`

values. Otherwise, the table would be filled with NA`s.

##### 1.1.3.3.1 Advice when using `profiling_num`

The idea of `profiling_num`

is to provide to the data scientist with a full set of metrics, so they can select the most relevant. This can easily be done using the `select`

function from the `dplyr`

package.

In addition, we have to set in `profiling_num`

the parameter `print_results = FALSE`

. This way we avoid the printing in the console.

For example, letâs get with the `mean`

, `p_01`

, `p_99`

and `range_80`

:

```
my_profiling_table = profiling_num(data_world_wide,
print_results = FALSE) %>% select(variable, mean,
p_01, p_99, range_80)
# Printing only the first three rows
head(my_profiling_table, 3)
```

```
## variable mean p_01 p_99 range_80
## 1 gini_index 39 25.7 61 [27.58, 50.47]
## 2 pop_living_slums 46 6.8 93 [12.5, 75.2]
## 3 poverty_headcount_1.9 18 0.0 76 [0.08, 54.05]
```

Please note that `profiling_num`

returns a table, so we can quickly filter cases given on the conditions we set.

##### 1.1.3.3.2 Profiling numerical variables by plotting

Another function in `funModeling`

is `plot_num`

which takes a dataset and plots the distribution of every numerical variable while automatically excluding the non-numerical ones:

`plot_num(data_world_wide)`

We can adjust the number of bars used in the plot by changing the `bins`

parameter (default value is set to 10). For example: `plot_num(data_world_wide, bins = 20)`

.

### 1.1.4 Final thoughts

Many numbers have appeared here so far, *and even more in the percentile appendix*. The important point is for you to find the right approach to explore your data. This can come from other metrics or other criteria.

The functions `df_status`

, `describe`

, `freq`

, `profiling_num`

and `plot_num`

can be run at the beginning of a data project.

Regarding the **normal and abnormal behavior** on data, itâs important to study both. To describe the dataset in general terms, we should exclude the extreme values: for example, with `range_98`

variable. The mean should decrease after the exclusion.

These analyses are **univariate**; that is, they do not take into account other variables (**multivariate** analysis). This will be part of this book later on. Meanwhile, for the correlation between input (and output) variables, you can check the Correlation chapter.

## 1.2 Correlation and Relationship

*Manderbolt fractal, where the chaos expresses its beauty; image source: Wikipedia.*

### 1.2.1 What is this about?

This chapter contains both methodological and practical aspects of measuring correlation in variables. We will see that *correlation* word can be translated into â**functional relationship**â.

In methodological you will find the Anscombe Quartet, a set of four plots with dissimilar spatial distribution, but sharing the same correlation measure. Weâll go one step ahead re-calculating their relationship though a more robust metric (MIC).

We will mention **Information Theory** several times, although by now itâs not going to be covered at the mathematical level, itâs planned to. Many algorithms are based on it, even deep learning.

Understanding these concepts in low dimension (two variables) and small data (a bunch of rows) allow us to better understand high dimensional data. Nonetheless, some real cases are only *small* data.

From the practical point of view, youâll be able to replicate the analysis with your own data, profiling and exposing their relationships in fancy plots.

Letâs starting loading all needed libraries.

```
# Loading needed libraries
library(funModeling) # contains heart_disease data
library(minerva) # contains MIC statistic
library(ggplot2)
library(dplyr)
library(reshape2)
library(gridExtra) # allow us to plot two plots in a row
options(scipen = 999) # disable cientific notation
```

### 1.2.2 Linear correlation

Perhaps the most standard correlation measure for numeric variables is the `R statistic`

(or Pearson coefficient) which goes from `1`

*positive correlation* to `-1`

*negative correlation*. A value around `0`

implies no correlation.

Consider the following example, which calculates R measure based on a target variable (for example to do feature engineering). Function `correlation_table`

retrieves R metric for all numeric variables skipping the categorical/nominal ones.

`correlation_table(data = heart_disease, str_target = "has_heart_disease")`

```
## Variable has_heart_disease
## 1 has_heart_disease 1.00
## 2 heart_disease_severity 0.83
## 3 num_vessels_flour 0.46
## 4 oldpeak 0.42
## 5 slope 0.34
## 6 age 0.23
## 7 resting_blood_pressure 0.15
## 8 serum_cholestoral 0.08
## 9 max_heart_rate -0.42
```

Variable `heart_disease_severity`

is the most important -numerical- variable, the higher its value the higher the chances of having a heart disease (positive correlation). Just the opposite to `max_heart_rate`

, which has a negative correlation.

Squaring this number returns the `R-squared`

statistic (aka `R2`

), which goes from `0`

*no correlation* to `1`

*high correlation*.

R statistic is highly influenced by **outliers** and **non-linear** relationships.

#### 1.2.2.1 Correlation on Anscombeâs Quartet

Take a look at the **Anscombeâs quartet**, quoting Wikipedia:

They were constructed in 1973 by the statistician Francis Anscombe to demonstrate both the importance of graphing data before analyzing it and the effect of outliers on statistical properties.

1973 and still valid, fantastic.

These four relationships are different, but all of them have the same R2: `0.816`

.

Following example calculates the R2 and plot every pair.

```
# Reading anscombe quartet data
anscombe_data = read.delim(file = "https://goo.gl/mVLz5L",
header = T)
# calculating the correlation (R squared, or R2)
# for every pair, every value is the same: 0.86.
cor_1 = cor(anscombe_data$x1, anscombe_data$y1)
cor_2 = cor(anscombe_data$x2, anscombe_data$y2)
cor_3 = cor(anscombe_data$x3, anscombe_data$y3)
cor_4 = cor(anscombe_data$x4, anscombe_data$y4)
# defining the function
plot_anscombe <- function(x, y, value, type) {
# 'anscombe_data' is a global variable, this is a
# bad programming practice :D
p = ggplot(anscombe_data, aes_string(x, y)) + geom_smooth(method = "lm",
fill = NA) + geom_point(aes(colour = factor(1),
fill = factor(1)), shape = 21, size = 2) +
ylim(2, 13) + xlim(4, 19) + theme_minimal() +
theme(legend.position = "none") + annotate("text",
x = 12, y = 4.5, label = sprintf("%s: %s",
type, round(value, 2)))
return(p)
}
# plotting in a 2x2 grid
grid.arrange(plot_anscombe("x1", "y1", cor_1, "R2"),
plot_anscombe("x2", "y2", cor_2, "R2"), plot_anscombe("x3",
"y3", cor_3, "R2"), plot_anscombe("x4", "y4",
cor_4, "R2"), ncol = 2, nrow = 2)
```

4-different plots, having the same `mean`

for every `x`

and `y`

variable (9 and 7.501 respectively), and the same degree of correlation. You can check all the measures by typing `summary(anscombe_data)`

.

This is why is so important to plot relationships when analyzing correlations.

Weâll back on this data later. It can be improved! First, weâll introduce some concepts of information theory.

### 1.2.3 Correlation based on Information Theory

This relationships can be measure better with Information Theory conepts. One of the many algortihms to measure correlation based on this is: **MINE**, acronym for: Maximal Information-based nonparametric exploration.

The implementation in R can be found in minerva package. Itâs also available in other languages like Python.

#### 1.2.3.1 An example in R: A perfect relationship

Letâs plot a non-linear relationship, directly based on a function (negative exponential), and print the MIC value.

```
x = seq(0, 20, length.out = 500)
df_exp = data.frame(x = x, y = dexp(x, rate = 0.65))
ggplot(df_exp, aes(x = x, y = y)) + geom_line(color = "steelblue") +
theme_minimal()
```

```
# position [1,2] contains the correlation of both
# variables, excluding the correlation measure of
# each variable against itself.
# Calculating linear correlation
res_cor_R2 = cor(df_exp)[1, 2]^2
sprintf("R2: %s", round(res_cor_R2, 2))
```

`## [1] "R2: 0.39"`

```
# now computing the MIC metric
res_mine = mine(df_exp)
sprintf("MIC: %s", res_mine$MIC[1, 2])
```

`## [1] "MIC: 1"`

**MIC** value goes from 0 to 1. Being 0 implies no correlation and 1 highest correlation. The interpretation is the same as the R-squared.

#### 1.2.3.2 Results analysis

The `MIC=1`

indicates there is a perfect correlation between the two variables. If we were doing **feature engineering** this variable should be included.

Further than a simple correlation, what the MIC says is: âHey these two variables show a functional relationshipâ.

In machine learning terms (and oversimplifying): âvariable `y`

is dependant of variable `x`

and a function -that we donât know which one- can be found model the relationship.â

This is tricky because that relationship was effectively created based on a function, an exponential one.

But letâs continue with other examplesâŠ

### 1.2.4 Adding noise

Noise is an undesired signal adding to the original one. In machine learning noise helps the model to get confused. Concretely: two identical input cases -for example customers- have different outcomes -one buy and the other doesnât-.

Now we are going to add some noise creating the `y_noise_1`

variable.

```
df_exp$y_noise_1 = jitter(df_exp$y, factor = 1000,
amount = NULL)
ggplot(df_exp, aes(x = x, y = y_noise_1)) + geom_line(color = "steelblue") +
theme_minimal()
```

Calculating the correlation and MIC again, printing in both cases the entire matrix, which shows the correlation/MIC metric of each input variable against all the others including themselves.

```
# calculating R squared
res_R2 = cor(df_exp)^2
res_R2
```

```
## x y y_noise_1
## x 1.00 0.39 0.38
## y 0.39 1.00 0.99
## y_noise_1 0.38 0.99 1.00
```

```
# Calculating mine
res_mine_2 = mine(df_exp)
# Printing MIC
res_mine_2$MIC
```

```
## x y y_noise_1
## x 1.00 1.00 0.72
## y 1.00 1.00 0.73
## y_noise_1 0.72 0.73 1.00
```

Adding noise to the data decreases the MIC value from 1 to 0.7226365 (-27%), and this is great!

R2 also decreased but just a little bit, from 0.3899148 to 0.3866319 (-0.8%).

**Conclusion:** MIC reflects a noisy relationship much better than R2, and itâs helpful to find correlated associations.

**About the last example:** Generate data based on a function is only for teaching purposes. But the concept of noise in variables is quite common in *almost* **every data set**, no matter its source. You donât have to do anything to add noise to variables, itâs already there. Machine learning models deal with this noise, by approaching to the *real* shape of data.

Itâs quite useful to use the MIC measure to get a sense of the information present in a relationship between two variables.

### 1.2.5 Measuring non-linearity (MIC-R2)

`mine`

function returns several metrics, we checked only **MIC**, but due to the nature of the algorithm (you can check the original paper (Reshef et al. 2011)), it computes more interesting indicators. Check them all by inspecting `res_mine_2`

object.

One of them is `MICR2`

, used as a measure of **non-linearity**. It is calculated by doing the: MIC - R2. Since R2 measures the linearity, a high `MICR2`

would indicate a non-linear relationship.

We can check it by calculating the MICR2 manually, following two matrix returns the same result:

```
# MIC r2: non-linearity metric
round(res_mine_2$MICR2, 3)
# calculating MIC r2 manually
round(res_mine_2$MIC - res_R2, 3)
```

Non-linear relationships are harder to build a model, even more using a linear algorithm like decision trees or linear regression.

Imagine we need to explain the relationship to another person, weâll need âmore wordsâ to do it. Itâs easier to say: *âA increases as B increases and the ratio is always 3xâ* (if A=1 then B=3, linear).

In comparison to: *âA increases as B increases, but A is almost 0 until B reaches the value 10, then A raises to 300; and when B reaches 15, A goes to 1000.â*

```
# creating data example
df_example = data.frame(x = df_exp$x, y_exp = df_exp$y,
y_linear = 3 * df_exp$x + 2)
# getting mine metrics
res_mine_3 = mine(df_example)
# generating labels to print the results
results_linear = sprintf("MIC: %s \n MIC-R2 (non-linearity): %s",
res_mine_3$MIC[1, 3], round(res_mine_3$MICR2[1,
3], 2))
results_exp = sprintf("MIC: %s \n MIC-R2 (non-linearity): %s",
res_mine_3$MIC[1, 2], round(res_mine_3$MICR2[1,
2], 4))
# Plotting results Creating plot exponential
# variable
p_exp = ggplot(df_example, aes(x = x, y = y_exp)) +
geom_line(color = "steelblue") + annotate("text",
x = 11, y = 0.4, label = results_exp) + theme_minimal()
# Creating plot linear variable
p_linear = ggplot(df_example, aes(x = x, y = y_linear)) +
geom_line(color = "steelblue") + annotate("text",
x = 8, y = 55, label = results_linear) + theme_minimal()
grid.arrange(p_exp, p_linear, ncol = 2)
```

Both plots show a perfect correlation (or relationship), holding an MIC=1. Regarding non-linearity, MICR2 behaves as expected, in `y_exp`

=0.6101, and in `y_linear`

=0.

This point is important since the **MIC behaves like R2 does in linear relationships**, plus it adapts quite well to **non-linear** relationships as we saw before, retrieving a particular score metric (`MICR2`

) to profile the relationship.

### 1.2.6 Measuring information on Anscombe Quartet

Remember the example we review at the beginning? Every pair of Anscombe Quartet returns a **R2 of 0.86**. But based on its plots it was clearly that not every pair exhibits neither a good correlation nor a similar distribution of `x`

and `y`

.

But what happen if we measure the relationship with a metric based on Information Theory? Yes, MIC again.

```
# calculating the MIC for every pair
mic_1 = mine(anscombe_data$x1, anscombe_data$y1, alpha = 0.8)$MIC
mic_2 = mine(anscombe_data$x2, anscombe_data$y2, alpha = 0.8)$MIC
mic_3 = mine(anscombe_data$x3, anscombe_data$y3, alpha = 0.8)$MIC
mic_4 = mine(anscombe_data$x4, anscombe_data$y4, alpha = 0.8)$MIC
# plotting MIC in a 2x2 grid
grid.arrange(plot_anscombe("x1", "y1", mic_1, "MIC"),
plot_anscombe("x2", "y2", mic_2, "MIC"), plot_anscombe("x3",
"y3", mic_3, "MIC"), plot_anscombe("x4", "y4",
mic_4, "MIC"), ncol = 2, nrow = 2)
```

As you may notice we increased the `alpha`

value to 0.8, this is a good practice -according to the documentation- when we analyzed small samples. The default value is 0.6 and its maximum 1.

In this case, MIC value spotted the most spurious relationship in the pair `x4 - y4`

. Probably due to a few cases per plot (11 rows) the MIC was the same for all the others pairs. Having more cases will show different MIC values.

But when combining the MIC with **MIC-R2** (non-linearity measurement) new insights appears:

```
# Calculating the MIC for every pair, note the
# 'MIC-R2' object has the hyphen when the input are
# two vectors, unlike when it takes a data frame
# which is 'MICR2'.
mic_r2_1 = mine(anscombe_data$x1, anscombe_data$y1,
alpha = 0.8)$`MIC-R2`
mic_r2_2 = mine(anscombe_data$x2, anscombe_data$y2,
alpha = 0.8)$`MIC-R2`
mic_r2_3 = mine(anscombe_data$x3, anscombe_data$y3,
alpha = 0.8)$`MIC-R2`
mic_r2_4 = mine(anscombe_data$x4, anscombe_data$y4,
alpha = 0.8)$`MIC-R2`
# Ordering according mic_r2
df_mic_r2 = data.frame(pair = c(1, 2, 3, 4), mic_r2 = c(mic_r2_1,
mic_r2_2, mic_r2_3, mic_r2_4)) %>% arrange(-mic_r2)
df_mic_r2
```

```
## pair mic_r2
## 1 2 0.33
## 2 3 0.33
## 3 1 0.33
## 4 4 -0.23
```

Ordering decreasingly by its **non-linearity** the results are consisent with the plots: 2 > 3 > 1 > 4. Something strange for pair 4, a negative number. This is because MIC is lower than the R2. A relationship that worth to be plotted.

### 1.2.7 Measuring non-monotonicity: MAS measure

MINE can also help us to profile time series regarding its non-monotonicity with **MAS** (maximum asymmetry score).

A monotonic series is such it never changes its tendency, it always goes up or down. More on this on (Wikipedia 2017b).

Following example simulates two-time series, one not-monotonic `y_1`

and the other monotonic `y_2`

.

```
# creating sample data (simulating time series)
time_x = sort(runif(n = 1000, min = 0, max = 1))
y_1 = 4 * (time_x - 0.5)^2
y_2 = 4 * (time_x - 0.5)^3
# Calculating MAS for both series
mas_y1 = round(mine(time_x, y_1)$MAS, 2)
mas_y2 = mine(time_x, y_2)$MAS
# Putting all together
df_mono = data.frame(time_x = time_x, y_1 = y_1, y_2 = y_2)
# Plotting
label_p_y_1 = sprintf("MAS=%s (goes down \n and up => not-monotonic)",
mas_y1)
p_y_1 = ggplot(df_mono, aes(x = time_x, y = y_1)) +
geom_line(color = "steelblue") + theme_minimal() +
annotate("text", x = 0.45, y = 0.75, label = label_p_y_1)
label_p_y_2 = sprintf("MAS=%s (goes up => monotonic)",
mas_y2)
p_y_2 = ggplot(df_mono, aes(x = time_x, y = y_2)) +
geom_line(color = "steelblue") + theme_minimal() +
annotate("text", x = 0.43, y = 0.35, label = label_p_y_2)
grid.arrange(p_y_1, p_y_2, ncol = 2)
```

#### 1.2.7.1 A more real example: Time Series

Consider the following case which contains three-time series: `y1`

, `y2`

and `y3`

. They can be profiled concerning its non-monotonicity or overall growth trend.

```
# reading data
df_time_series = read.delim(file = "https://goo.gl/QDUjfd")
# converting to long format so they can be plotted
df_time_series_long = melt(df_time_series, id = "time")
# Plotting
plot_time_series = ggplot(data = df_time_series_long,
aes(x = time, y = value, colour = variable)) +
geom_line() + theme_minimal() + scale_color_brewer(palette = "Set2")
plot_time_series
```

```
# Calculating and printing MAS values for time
# series data
mine_ts = mine(df_time_series)
mine_ts$MAS
```

```
## time y1 y2 y3
## time 0.00 0.120 0.105 0.191
## y1 0.12 0.000 0.068 0.081
## y2 0.11 0.068 0.000 0.057
## y3 0.19 0.081 0.057 0.000
```

We need to look at `time`

column, so weâve got the MAS value of each series regarding the time. `y2`

is the most not-monotonic series, and it can be confirmed by looking at it. It seems to be always up.

**MAS summary:**

- MAS ~ 0 indicates monotonic function
- MAS ~ 1 indicates non-monotonic function (
*always*up or down)

### 1.2.8 Correlation between time series

MIC metric can also measure the **correlation in time series**, it is not a general purpose tool but can be helpful to compare different series quickly.

This section is based on the same data we used in MAS example.

```
# printing again the 3-time series
plot_time_series
```

```
# Printing MIC values
mine_ts$MIC
```

```
## time y1 y2 y3
## time 1.00 0.38 0.69 0.34
## y1 0.38 1.00 0.62 0.71
## y2 0.69 0.62 1.00 0.52
## y3 0.34 0.71 0.52 1.00
```

Now we need to look at `y1`

column. According to MIC measure, we can confirm the same that itâs shown in last plot:

`y1`

is more similar to `y3`

(MIC=0.709) than what is `y2`

(MIC=0.61).

#### 1.2.8.1 Going further: Dynamic Time Warping

MIC will not be helpful for more complex esenarios having time series which vary in speed, you would use dynamic time warping technique (**DTW**).

Letâs use an image to catch up the concept visually:

Image source: *Dynamic time wrapping Converting images into time series for data mining* ((Izbicki 2011)).

The last image shows two different approaches to compare time series, and the **euclidean** is more similar to MIC measure. While DTW can track similarities occurring at different times.

A nice implementation in **R**: dtw package.

Finding correlations between time series is another way of performing **time series clustering**.

### 1.2.9 Correlation on categorical variables

MINE -and many other algorithms- only work with numerical data. We need to do a **data preparation** trick, converting every categorical variable into flag (or dummy variable).

If the original categorical variable has 30 possible values, it will result in 30 new columns holding the value `0`

or `1`

, when `1`

represents the presence of that category in the row.

If we use package `caret`

from R, this conversion only takes two lines of code:

```
library(caret)
# selecting just a few variables
heart_disease_2 = select(heart_disease, max_heart_rate,
oldpeak, thal, chest_pain, exer_angina, has_heart_disease)
# this conversion from categorical to a numeric is
# merely to have a cleaner plot
heart_disease_2$has_heart_disease = ifelse(heart_disease_2$has_heart_disease ==
"yes", 1, 0)
# it converts all categorical variables (factor and
# character for R) into numerical variables
# skipping the original so the data is ready to use
dmy = dummyVars(" ~ .", data = heart_disease_2)
heart_disease_3 = data.frame(predict(dmy, newdata = heart_disease_2))
# Important: If you recieve this message `Error:
# Missing values present in input variable 'x'.
# Consider using use = 'pairwise.complete.obs'.` is
# because data has missing values. Please don't
# omit NA without an impact analysis first, in this
# case it is not important.
heart_disease_4 = na.omit(heart_disease_3)
# compute the mic!
mine_res_hd = mine(heart_disease_4)
```

Printing a sampleâŠ

`mine_res_hd$MIC[1:5, 1:5]`

```
## max_heart_rate oldpeak thal.3 thal.6 thal.7
## max_heart_rate 1.00 0.24 0.244 0.120 0.184
## oldpeak 0.24 1.00 0.175 0.111 0.157
## thal.3 0.24 0.18 0.992 0.073 0.710
## thal.6 0.12 0.11 0.073 0.327 0.044
## thal.7 0.18 0.16 0.710 0.044 0.964
```

Where column `thal.3`

takes a value of 1 when `thal=3`

.

#### 1.2.9.1 Printing some fancy plots!

Weâll use `corrplot`

package in R which can plot a `cor`

object (classical correlation matrix), or any other matrix. We will plot **MIC** matrix in this case, but any other can be used as well, for example, **MAS** or another metric that returns an squared matrix of correlations.

The two plots are based on the same data but display the correlation in different ways.

```
library(corrplot) # library wto plot that matrix
library(RColorBrewer) # to use the color pallete brewer.pal
# hack to visualize the maximum value of the scale excluding the
# diagonal / diagonal=(variable against itself)
diag(mine_res_hd$MIC)=0
# Correlation plot with circles.
corrplot(mine_res_hd$MIC, method="circle",
col=brewer.pal(n=10, name="PuOr"),
# only display upper diagonal
type="lower",
#label color, size and rotation
tl.col="red", tl.cex = 0.9, tl.srt=90,
# dont print diagonal (var against itself)
diag=FALSE,
# accept a any matrix, mic in this case (not a correlation
# element)
is.corr = F
)
```

```
# Correlation plot with color and correlation MIC
corrplot(mine_res_hd$MIC, method="color",
type="lower", number.cex=0.7,
addCoef.col = "black", # Add coefficient of correlation
tl.col="red", tl.srt=90, tl.cex = 0.9,
diag=FALSE, is.corr = F
)
```

Just change the first parameter -`mine_res_hd$MIC`

- to the matrix you want and reuse with your data.

#### 1.2.9.2 A comment about this kind of plots

They are useful only when the number of variables are not big. Or if you perform a variable selection first, keeping in mind that every variable should be numerical.

If there is some categorical variable in the selection you can convert it into numerical first and inspect the relationship between the variables, thus sneak peak how certain values in categorical variables are more related to certain outcomes, like in this case.

#### 1.2.9.3 How about some insights from the plots?

Since the variable to predict is `has_heart_disease`

, it appears something interesting, to have a heart disease is more correlated to `thal=3`

than to value `thal=6`

.

Same analysis for variable `chest_pain`

, a value of 4 is more dangerous than a value of 1.

And we can check it with other plot:

```
cross_plot(heart_disease, str_input = "chest_pain",
str_target = "has_heart_disease", plot_type = "percentual")
```

The likelihood of having a heart disease is 72.9% if the patient has `chest_pain=4`

. More than 2x more likely if she/(he) has `chest_pain=1`

(72.9 vs 30.4%).

**Some thoughtsâŠ**

The data is the same, but the approach to browse it is different. The same goes when we are creating a predictive model, the input data in the *N-dimensional* space can be approached through different models like support vector machine, a random forest, etc.

Like a photographer shooting from different angles, or different cameras. The object is always the same, but the perspective gives different information.

Combining raw tables plus different plots gives us a more real and complementary object perspective.

### 1.2.10 Correlation analysis based on information theory

Based on MIC measure, mine function can receive the index of the column to predict (or to get all the correlations against only one variable).

```
# Getting the index of the variable to
# predict: has_heart_disease
target = "has_heart_disease"
index_target = grep(target, colnames(heart_disease_4))
# master takes the index column number to
# calculate all the correlations
mic_predictive = mine(heart_disease_4, master = index_target)$MIC
# creating the data frame containing the
# results, ordering descently by its
# correlation and excluding the
# correlation of target vs itself
df_predictive = data.frame(variable = rownames(mic_predictive),
mic = mic_predictive[, 1], stringsAsFactors = F) %>%
arrange(-mic) %>% filter(variable !=
target)
# creating a colorful plot showing
# importance variable based on MIC
# measure
ggplot(df_predictive, aes(x = reorder(variable,
mic), y = mic, fill = variable)) + geom_bar(stat = "identity") +
coord_flip() + theme_bw() + xlab("") +
ylab("Variable Importance (based on MIC)") +
guides(fill = FALSE)
```

Although it is recommended to run correlations among all variables in order to exclude correlated input features.

#### 1.2.10.1 Practice advice for using `mine`

If it lasts too much time to finish, consider taking a sample. If the amount of data is too little, consider setting a higher number in `alpha`

parameter, 0.6 is its default. Also, it can be run in parallel, just setting `n.cores=3`

in case you have 4 cores. A general good practice when running parallel processes, the extra core will be used by the operating system.

### 1.2.11 But just MINE covers this?

No. We used only MINE suite, but there are other algortihms related to mutual information. In R some of the packages are: entropy and infotheo.

In **Python** mutual information can be calculated through scikit-learn, here an example.

The concept transcends the tool.

#### 1.2.11.1 Another correlation example (mutual information)

This time weâll use `infotheo`

package, we need first to do a **data preparation** step, applying a `discretize`

function (or binning) function present in the package. It converts every numerical variable into categorical based on equal frequency criteria.

Next code will create the correlation matrix as we seen before, but based on the mutual information index.

```
library(infotheo)
# discretizing every variable
heart_disease_4_disc = discretize(heart_disease_4)
# calculating 'correlation' based on mutual
# information
heart_info = mutinformation(heart_disease_4_disc, method = "emp")
# hack to visualize the maximum value of the scale
# excluding the diagonal (var against itself)
diag(heart_info) = 0
# Correlation plot with color and correlation
# Mutual Information from Infotheo package. This
# line only retrieves the plot of the right.
corrplot(heart_info, method = "color", type = "lower",
number.cex = 0.6, addCoef.col = "black", tl.col = "red",
tl.srt = 90, tl.cex = 0.9, diag = FALSE, is.corr = F)
```

Correlation score based on mutual information ranks relationships pretty similar to MIC, doesnât it?

### 1.2.12 Information Measures: A general perspective

Further than correlation, MIC or other information metric measure if there is a *functional relationship*.

A high MIC value indicates that the relationship between the two variables can be explained by a function. Is our job to find that function or predictive model.

This analysis is extended to n-variables, this book introduces another algorithm in the selecting best variables chapter.

Some predictive models perform better than other, but if the relationship is absolutely noisy no matter how advance the algorithm is, it will end up in bad results.

More to come on **Information Theory**. By now you check these didactical lectures:

- 7-min introductory video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2s3aJfRr9gE
- http://alex.smola.org/teaching/cmu2013-10-701x/slides/R8-information_theory.pdf
- http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Mutual_information

### 1.2.13 Conclussions

Anscombeâs quartet taught us the good practice of getting the *raw statistic* together with a plot.

We could see how **noise** can affect the relationship between two variables, and this phenomenon always appears in data. Noise in data confuses the predictive model.

Noise is related to error, and it can be studied with measures based on information theory such as **mutual information** and **maximal information coefficient**, which go one further step than typical R squared. There is a clinical study which uses MINE as feature selector in (Caban et al. 2012).

These methods are applicable in **feature engineering** as a method which does not rely on a predictive model to rank most important variables. Also applicable to cluster time series.

Next recommended chapter: Selecting best variables

### References

McNeese, Bill. 2016. âAre the Skewness and Kurtosis Useful Statistics?â https://www.spcforexcel.com/knowledge/basic-statistics/are-skewness-and-kurtosis-useful-statistics.

Handbook, Engineering Statistics. 2013. âMeasures of Skewness and Kurtosis.â http://www.itl.nist.gov/div898/handbook/eda/section3/eda35b.htm.

Reshef, David N., Yakir A. Reshef, Hilary K. Finucane, Sharon R. Grossman, Gilean McVean, Peter J. Turnbaugh, Eric S. Lander, Michael Mitzenmacher, and Pardis C. Sabeti. 2011. âDetecting Novel Associations in Large Data Sets.â *Science* 334 (6062): 1518â24. doi:10.1126/science.1205438.

Wikipedia. 2017b. âMonotonic Function.â https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monotonic_function.

Izbicki, Mike. 2011. âConverting Images into Time Series for Data Mining.â https://izbicki.me/blog/converting-images-into-time-series-for-data-mining.html.

Caban, Jesus J., Ulas Bagci, Alem Mehari, Shoaib Alam, Joseph R. Fontana, Gregory J. Kato, and Daniel J. Mollura. 2012. âCharacterizing Non-Linear Dependencies Among Pairs of Clinical Variables and Imaging Data.â *Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc* 2012 (August): 2700â2703. doi:10.1109/EMBC.2012.6346521.