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Universal Features Selection Procedure

Feature selection in AutoML is performed in two steps during fitting:

  • random_feature - in which AutoML decides which features are important and which should be dropped.
  • features_selection - training of the new models on selected features.

random_feature step

In this step the following actions are performed:

  • Select the best model so far and save its hyperparameters.
  • Insert a radnom_feature to the dataset. The feature has uniform distribution from 0 to 1 range.
  • Train the model with the best hyperparameters on extended dataset.
  • Compute permutation-based feature importance for the new model. Because of using permutation-based feature importance this procedure can be applied to any Machine Learning algorithm.
  • For each feature count how many times it has smaller importance than random_feature.
  • If feature was less important at half of learners or more, then drop this feature.


There can be several learners in the model. For the example in 10-fold cross-validation, there will be 10 learners. So feature to be dropped must be less important for half or more of the learners (at least 5 times to be dropped).

features_selection step

  • If there are no features to be dropped then this step is skipped.
  • There is selected the best model for each of the algorithm type: [Xgboost, LightGBM, CatBoost, Neural Network, Random Forest, Extra Trees]. The hyperparameters of the best models are copied and reused with selected features.