Ordinal regression by a generalized force-based model

Francisco Fernández-Navarro, Annalisa Riccardi, Sante Carloni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This paper introduces a new instance-based algorithm for multiclass classification problems where the classes have a natural order. The proposed algorithm extends the state-of-the-art gravitational models by generalizing the scaling behavior of the class-pattern interaction force. Like the other gravitational models, the proposed algorithm classifies new patterns by comparing the magnitude of the force that each class exerts on a given pattern. To address ordinal problems, the algorithm assumes that, given a pattern, the forces associated to each class follow a unimodal distribution. For this reason, a weight matrix that allows to modify the metric in the attributes space and a vector of parameters that allows to modify the force law for each class have been introduced in the model definition. Furthermore, a probabilistic formulation of the error function allows the estimation of the model parameters using global and local optimization procedures toward minimization of the errors and penalization of the non unimodal outputs. One of the strengths of the model is its competitive grade of interpretability which is a requisite in most of real applications. The proposed algorithm is compared to other well-known ordinal regression algorithms on discretized regression datasets and real ordinal regression datasets. Experimental results demonstrate that the proposed algorithm can achieve competitive generalization performance and it is validated using nonparametric statistical tests.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)844-857
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Cybernetics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • force
  • computational modeling
  • adaptation models
  • matrix algebra


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