In mixture model-based clustering applications, it is common to fit several models from a family and report clustering results from only the `best' one. In such circumstances, selection of this best model is achieved using a model selection criterion, most often the Bayesian information criterion. Rather than throw away all but the best model, we average multiple models that are in some sense close to the best one, thereby producing a weighted average of clustering results. Two (weighted) averaging approaches are considered: averaging the component membership probabilities and averaging models. In both cases, Occam's window is used to determine closeness to the best model and weights are computed within a Bayesian model averaging paradigm. In some cases, we need to merge components before averaging; we introduce a method for merging mixture components based on the adjusted Rand index. The effectiveness of our model-based clustering averaging approaches is illustrated using a family of Gaussian mixture models on real and simulated data.
A family of parsimonious shifted asymmetric Laplace mixture models is introduced. We extend the mixture of factor analyzers model to the shifted asymmetric Laplace distribution. Imposing constraints on the constitute parts of the resulting decomposed component scale matrices leads to a family of parsimonious models. An explicit two-stage parameter estimation procedure is described, and the Bayesian information criterion and the integrated completed likelihood are compared for model selection. This novel family of models is applied to real data, where it is compared to its Gaussian analogue within clustering and classification paradigms.
Accurate and detailed models of the progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's (AD) are crucially important for reliable early diagnosis and the determination and deployment of effective treatments. In this paper, we introduce the ALPACA (Alzheimer's disease Probabilistic Cascades) model, a generative model linking latent Alzheimer's progression dynamics to observable biomarker data. In contrast with previous works which model disease progression as a fixed ordering of events, we explicitly model the variability over such orderings among patients which is more realistic, particularly for highly detailed disease progression models. We describe efficient learning algorithms for ALPACA and discuss promising experimental results on a real cohort of Alzheimer's patients from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative.
Parameter estimation for model-based clustering using a finite mixture of normal inverse Gaussian (NIG) distributions is achieved through variational Bayes approximations. Univariate NIG mixtures and multivariate NIG mixtures are considered. The use of variational Bayes approximations here is a substantial departure from the traditional EM approach and alleviates some of the associated computational complexities and uncertainties. Our variational algorithm is applied to simulated and real data. The paper concludes with discussion and suggestions for future work.
The efficacy of family-based approaches to mixture model-based clustering and classification depends on the selection of parsimonious models. Current wisdom suggests the Bayesian information criterion (BIC) for mixture model selection. However, the BIC has well-known limitations, including a tendency to overestimate the number of components as well as a proclivity for, often drastically, underestimating the number of components in higher dimensions. While the former problem might be soluble through merging components, the latter is impossible to mitigate in clustering and classification applications. In this paper, a LASSO-penalized BIC (LPBIC) is introduced to overcome this problem. This approach is illustrated based on applications of extensions of mixtures of factor analyzers, where the LPBIC is used to select both the number of components and the number of latent factors. The LPBIC is shown to match or outperform the BIC in several situations.