A dynamic-programming algorithm for hierarchical discretization of continuous attributes

Ching Cheng Shen, Yen Liang Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Discretization techniques can be used to reduce the number of values for a given continuous attribute, and a concept hierarchy can be used to define a discretization of a given continuous attribute. Traditional methods of building a concept hierarchy from a continuous attribute are usually based on the level-wise approach. Unfortunately, this approach suffers from three weaknesses: (1) it only seeks a local optimal solution instead of a global optimal, (2) it is usually subject to the constraint that each interval can only be partitioned into a fixed number of subintervals, and (3) the constructed tree may be unbalanced. In view of these weaknesses, this paper develops a new algorithm based on dynamic-programming strategy for constructing concept hierarchies from continuous attributes. The constructed trees have three merits: (1) they are global optimal trees, (2) each interval is partitioned into the most appropriate number of subintervals, and (3) the trees are balanced. Finally, we carry out an experimental study using real data to show its efficiency and effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)636-651
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 16 Jan 2008


  • Concept hierarchy
  • Continuous data
  • Data mining
  • Dynamic programming


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