SUSI: Supervised Self-Organizing Maps for Regression and Classification in Python


In many research fields, the sizes of the existing datasets vary widely. Hence, there is a need for machine learning techniques which are well-suited for these different datasets. One possible technique is the self-organizing map (SOM), a type of artificial neural network which is, so far, weakly represented in the field of machine learning. The SOM's unique characteristic is the neighborhood relationship of the output neurons. This relationship improves the ability of generalization on small datasets. SOMs are mostly applied in unsupervised learning and few studies focus on using SOMs as supervised learning approach. Furthermore, no appropriate SOM package is available with respect to machine learning standards and in the widely used programming language Python. In this paper, we introduce the freely available SUpervised Self-organIzing maps (SUSI) Python package which performs supervised regression and classification. The implementation of SUSI is described with respect to the underlying mathematics. Then, we present first evaluations of the SOM for regression and classification datasets from two different domains of geospatial image analysis. Despite the early stage of its development, the SUSI framework performs well and is characterized by only small performance differences between the training and the test datasets. A comparison of the SUSI framework with existing Python and R packages demonstrates the importance of the SUSI framework. In future work, the SUSI framework will be extended, optimized and upgraded e.g. with tools to better understand and visualize the input data as well as the handling of missing and incomplete data.

arXiv preprint arXiv:1903.11114
Felix M. Riese
PhD Student and MBA Fellow

PhD student in AI and remote sensing at KIT (DE) and MBA fellow at CDI (FR).