Hierarchical classification of data streams: a systematic literature review

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Abstract

The classification task usually works with flat and batch learners, assuming problems as stationary and without relations between class labels. Nevertheless, several real-world problems do not assume these premises, i.e., data have labels organized hierarchically and are made available in streaming fashion, meaning that their behavior can drift over time. Existing studies on hierarchical classification do not consider data streams as input of their process, and thus, data is assumed as stationary and handled through batch learners. The same can be said about works on streaming data, as the hierarchical classification is overlooked. Studies concerning each area individually are promising, yet, do not tackle their intersection. This study analyzes the main characteristics of the state-of-the-art works on hierarchical classification for streaming data concerning five aspects: (i) problems tackled, (ii) datasets, (iii) algorithms, (iv) evaluation metrics, and (v) research gaps in the area. We performed a systematic literature review of primary studies and retrieved 3,722 papers, of which 42 were identified as relevant and used to answer the aforementioned research questions. We found that the problems handled by hierarchical classification of data streams include mainly classification of images, human activities, texts, and audio; the datasets are mostly created or synthetic data; the algorithms and evaluation metrics are well-known techniques or based on those; and research gaps are related to dynamic context, data complexity, and computational resources constraints. We also provide implications for future research and experiments to consider common characteristics shared amongst hierarchical classification and data stream classification.

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