Novel feature selection and voting classifier algorithms for COVID-19 classification in CT images

El Sayed M. El-Kenawy, Abdelhameed Ibrahim, Seyedali Mirjalili, Marwa Metwally Eid, Sherif E. Hussein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

149 Citations (Scopus)


Diagnosis is a critical preventive step in Coronavirus research which has similar manifestations with other types of pneumonia. CT scans and X-rays play an important role in that direction. However, processing chest CT images and using them to accurately diagnose COVID-19 is a computationally expensive task. Machine Learning techniques have the potential to overcome this challenge. This article proposes two optimization algorithms for feature selection and classification of COVID-19. The proposed framework has three cascaded phases. Firstly, the features are extracted from the CT scans using a Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) named AlexNet. Secondly, a proposed features selection algorithm, Guided Whale Optimization Algorithm (Guided WOA) based on Stochastic Fractal Search (SFS), is then applied followed by balancing the selected features. Finally, a proposed voting classifier, Guided WOA based on Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO), aggregates different classifiers’ predictions to choose the most voted class. This increases the chance that individual classifiers, e.g. Support Vector Machine (SVM), Neural Networks (NN), k-Nearest Neighbor (KNN), and Decision Trees (DT), to show significant discrepancies. Two datasets are used to test the proposed model: CT images containing clinical findings of positive COVID-19 and CT images negative COVID-19. The proposed feature selection algorithm (SFS-Guided WOA) is compared with other optimization algorithms widely used in recent literature to validate its efficiency. The proposed voting classifier (PSO-Guided-WOA) achieved AUC (area under the curve) of 0.995 that is superior to other voting classifiers in terms of performance metrics. Wilcoxon rank-sum, ANOVA, and T-test statistical tests are applied to statistically assess the quality of the proposed algorithms as well.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9209966
JournalIEEE Access
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Convolutional neural network
  • COVID-19
  • CT scans
  • Features selection
  • Guided whale optimization algorithm
  • Voting ensemble


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