FAHES: A Robust Disguised Missing Values Detector
Mourad Ouzzani (Qatar Computing Research Institute, HBKU); Nan Tang (Qatar Computing Research Institute, HBKU); Ahmed Elmagarmid (Qatar Computing Research Institute, HBKU); Raul Castro Fernandez (CSAIL MIT); Abdulhakim A. Qahtan (Qatar Computing Research Institute, HBKU)
Missing values are common in real-world data and may seriously affect data analytics such as simple statistics and hypothesis testing. Generally speaking, there are two types of missing values: explicitly missing values (i.e. NULL values), and implicitly missing values (a.k.a. disguised missing values (DMVs)) such as “11111111” for a phone number and “Some college” for education. While detecting explicitly missing values is trivial, detecting DMVs is not; the essential challenge is the lack of standardization about how DMVs are generated. In this paper, we present FAHES, a robust system for detecting DMVs from two angles: DMVs as detectable outliers and as detectable inliers. For DMVs as outliers, we propose a syntactic outlier detection module for categorical data, and a density-based outlier detection module for numerical values. For DMVs as inliers, we propose a method that detects DMVs which follow either missing-completely-at-random or missing-at-random models. The robustness of FAHES is achieved through an ensemble technique that is inspired by outlier ensembles. Our extensive experiments using real-world data sets show that FAHES delivers better results than existing solutions.