feature vectors

In machine learning and pattern recognition, a feature is an individual measurable property of a phenomenon being observed. Choosing informative, discriminating and independent features is a crucial step for effective algorithms in pattern recognition, classification and regression. Features are usually numeric, but structural features such as strings and graphs are used in syntactic pattern recognition. The concept of “feature” is related to that of explanatory variable used in statistical techniques such as linear regression. The initial set of raw features can be redundant and too large to be managed. Therefore, a preliminary step in many applications of machine learning and pattern recognition consists of selecting a subset of features, or constructing a new and reduced set of features to facilitate learning, and to improve generalization and interpretability. Extracting or selecting features is a combination of art and science. It requires the experimentation of multiple possibilities and the combination of automated techniques with the intuition and knowledge of the domain expert.