Nonparametric methods for learning from data
Developing statistical machine learning algorithms involves making various degrees of assumptions about the nature of the data being modeled. Non-parametric methods are useful when prior information regarding the parametric form of the model is unavailable or invalid. This thesis presents non-parametric methods for tackling various modeling requirements.
The first part of this thesis presents a pair of unsupervised and supervised linear dimensionality reduction techniques that are suitable for various data types like binary and integer along with real-valued data. They are based on a semi-parametric mixture of exponential family distributions where no parametric assumptions are made about the latent distribution and the parametric form of the noise distribution is to be chosen based on the data type, for example Bernoulli for binary data, etc. A key feature of the unsupervised method is that it guarantees asymptotic consistency of the estimated lower dimensional signal subspace, which is not guaranteed for other recently proposed methods. The supervised method finds the lower dimensional space that retains maximum possible information regarding the labels. We present efficient algorithms and experimental results for these methods.
The second part of this thesis considers unsupervised learning of a density based distance. We decompose the errors that can arise in approximating these density based distances into estimation and computation components. We prove upper and lower bounds on the rate of convergence of the estimation error in terms of data dimensionality and smoothness of the data density. We present a method for constructing a graph on the data and a performance guarantee on the computation error when using this method. We also show an upper bound on the approximation error that applies to approximating distances using nearest-neighborhood based graphs and is applicable to several other similarity measuring algorithms. Finally, we show that this graph construction enables consistent approximation of the minimal geodesics themselves for the non-linear interpolation application and present experimental results.
0800: Artificial intelligence