Advanced meta-heuristics, convolutional neural networks, and feature selectors for efficient COVID-19 X-ray chest image classification

El Sayed M. El-Kenawy, Seyedali Mirjalili, Abdelhameed Ibrahim, Mohammed Alrahmawy, M. El-Said, Rokaia M. Zaki, Marwa Metwally Eid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Citations (Scopus)


The chest X-ray is considered a significant clinical utility for basic examination and diagnosis. The human lung area can be affected by various infections, such as bacteria and viruses, leading to pneumonia. Efficient and reliable classification method facilities the diagnosis of such infections. Deep transfer learning has been introduced for pneumonia detection from chest X-rays in different models. However, there is still a need for further improvements in the feature extraction and advanced classification stages. This paper proposes a classification method with two stages to classify different cases from the chest X-ray images based on a proposed Advanced Squirrel Search Optimization Algorithm (ASSOA). The first stage is the feature learning and extraction processes based on a Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) model named ResNet-50 with image augmentation and dropout processes. The ASSOA algorithm is then applied to the extracted features for the feature selection process. Finally, the Multi-layer Perceptron (MLP) Neural Network's connection weights are optimized by the proposed ASSOA algorithm (using the selected features) to classify input cases. A Kaggle chest X-ray images (Pneumonia) dataset consists of 5,863 X-rays is employed in the experiments. The proposed ASSOA algorithm is compared with the basic Squirrel Search (SS) optimization algorithm, Grey Wolf Optimizer (GWO), and Genetic Algorithm (GA) for feature selection to validate its efficiency. The proposed (ASSOA + MLP) is also compared with other classifiers, based on (SS + MLP), (GWO + MLP), and (GA + MLP), in performance metrics. The proposed (ASSOA + MLP) algorithm achieved a classification mean accuracy of (99.26%). The ASSOA + MLP algorithm also achieved a classification mean accuracy of (99.7%) for a chest X-ray COVID-19 dataset tested from GitHub. The results and statistical tests demonstrate the high effectiveness of the proposed method in determining the infected cases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9360538
Pages (from-to)36019-36037
Number of pages19
JournalIEEE Access
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Chest X-ray
  • convolutional neural network
  • multilayer perceptron
  • optimization algorithm
  • squirrel search optimization
  • transfer learning


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