Mining behavioral sequence constraints for classification

Johannes De Smedt, Galina Deeva, Jochen De Weerdt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sequence classification deals with the task of finding discriminative and concise sequential patterns. To this purpose, many techniques have been proposed, which mainly resort to the use of partial orders to capture the underlying sequences in a database according to the labels. Partial orders, however, pose many limitations, especially on expressiveness, i.e. the aptitude towards capturing certain behavior, and on conciseness, i.e. doing so in a compact and informative way. These limitations can be addressed by using a better representation. In this paper we present the interesting Behavioral Constraint Miner (iBCM), a sequence classification technique that discovers patterns using behavioral constraint templates. The templates comprise a variety of constraints and can express patterns ranging from simple occurrence, to looping and position-based behavior over a sequence. Furthermore, iBCM also captures negative constraints, i.e. absence of particular behavior. The constraints can be discovered by using simple string operations in an efficient way. Finally, deriving the constraints with a window-based approach allows to pinpoint where the constraints hold in a string, and to detect whether patterns are subject to concept drift. Through empirical evaluation, it is shown that iBCM is better capable of classifying sequences more accurately and concisely in a scalable manner.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1130-1142
JournalIEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering
Issue number6
Early online date4 Feb 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Feb 2019


  • sequence classification
  • sequential pattern mining
  • behavioral constraint templates
  • declare


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