Improving Imbalanced Machine Learning with Neighborhood-Informed Synthetic Sample Placement

Murtaza Nasir, Ali Dag, Serhat Simsek, Anton Ivanov, Asil Oztekin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Machine learning is widely used in information systems design. Yet, training algorithms on imbalanced datasets may severely affect performance on unseen data. For example, in some cases in healthcare, fintech, or cybersecurity contexts, certain subclasses are difficult to learn because they are underrepresented in training data. Our study offers a flexible and efficient solution based on a new synthetic average neighborhood sampling algorithm (SANSA), which, in contrast to other solutions, introduces a novel “placement” parameter that can be tuned to adapt to each dataset’s unique manifestation of the imbalance. This package can be downloaded for R 1. We tested SANSA against seven existing sampling methods used in conjunction with the four most frequently used machine learning models trained on 14 benchmark datasets. Our results provide suggestive evidence that SANSA offers a feasible solution to the imbalance problem for most datasets. Our findings provide practical recommendations for how SANSA can be effectively implemented while reducing the complexity level of an imbalanced learning pipeline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1116-1145
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Management Information Systems
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2022


  • Imbalanced data
  • algorithm training
  • classification prediction performance
  • machine learning
  • oversampling
  • predictive analytics
  • undersampling


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