Abstract: Common spatial pattern algorithm is widely used to estimate spatial filters in motor imagery based brain–computer interfaces. However, use of a large number of channels will make common spatial pattern tend to over-fitting and the classification of electroencephalographic signals time-consuming. To overcome these problems, it is necessary to choose an optimal subset of the whole channels to save computational time and improve the classification accuracy. In this paper, a novel method named backtracking search optimization algorithm is proposed to automatically select the optimal channel set for common spatial pattern. Each individual in the population is a N-dimensional vector, with each component representing one channel. A population of binary codes generate randomly in the beginning, and then channels are selected according to the evolution of these codes. The number and positions of 1’s in the code denote the number and positions of chosen channels. The objective function of backtracking search optimization algorithm is defined as the combination of classification error rate and relative number of channels. Experimental results suggest that higher classification accuracy can be achieved with much fewer channels compared to standard common spatial pattern with whole channels.
Keywords: Brain–computer interface, motor imagery, common spatial pattern, backtracking search optimization, channel selection