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Evolutionary algorithms are adaptive methods based on natural evolution that may be used for search and optimization. As data reduction in knowledge discovery in databases (KDDs) can be viewed as a search problem, it could be solved using evolutionary algorithms (EAs). In this paper, we have carried out an empirical study of the performance of four representative EA models in which we have taken into account two different instance selection perspectives, the prototype selection and the training set selection for data reduction in KDD. This paper includes a comparison between these algorithms and other nonevolutionary instance selection algorithms. The results show that the evolutionary instance selection algorithms consistently outperform the nonevolutionary ones, the main advantages being: better instance reduction rates, higher classification accuracy, and models that are easier to interpret.