Evaluating the Impact of Missing Data Imputation through the use of the Random Forest Algorithm

Adam Pantanowitz and Tshilidzi Marwala
Arxiv ID: 0812.2412Last updated: 11/25/2020
This paper presents an impact assessment for the imputation of missing data. The data set used is HIV Seroprevalence data from an antenatal clinic study survey performed in 2001. Data imputation is performed through five methods: Random Forests, Autoassociative Neural Networks with Genetic Algorithms, Autoassociative Neuro-Fuzzy configurations, and two Random Forest and Neural Network based hybrids. Results indicate that Random Forests are superior in imputing missing data in terms both of accuracy and of computation time, with accuracy increases of up to 32% on average for certain variables when compared with autoassociative networks. While the hybrid systems have significant promise, they are hindered by their Neural Network components. The imputed data is used to test for impact in three ways: through statistical analysis, HIV status classification and through probability prediction with Logistic Regression. Results indicate that these methods are fairly immune to imputed data, and that the impact is not highly significant, with linear correlations of 96% between HIV probability prediction and a set of two imputed variables using the logistic regression analysis.

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