The ROC isometrics approach to construct reliable classifiers

Stijn Vanderlooy*, Ida G. Sprinkhuizen-Kuyper, Evgueni N. Smirnov, H. Jaap van den Herik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Web of Science)


We address the problem of applying machine-learning classifiers in domains where incorrect classifications have severe consequences. In these domains we propose to apply classifiers only when their performance can be defined by the domain expert prior to classification. The classifiers so obtained are called reliable classifiers. In the article we present three main contributions. First, we establish the effect on an ROC curve when ambiguous instances are left unclassified. Second, we propose the ROC isometrics approach to tune and transform a classifier in such a way that it becomes reliable. Third, we provide an empirical evaluation of the approach. From our analysis and experimental evaluation we may conclude that the ROC isometrics approach is an effective and efficient approach to construct reliable classifiers. In addition, a discussion about related work clearly shows the benefits of the approach when compared with existing approaches that also have the option to leave ambiguous instances unclassified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-37
Number of pages35
JournalIntelligent Data Analysis
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • ROC analysis
  • isometrics
  • abstaining classifiers
  • reliable classifiers
  • cost-sensitive classification

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