How can we train a statistical mixture model on a massive data set? In this work we show how to construct coresets for mixtures of Gaussians. A coreset is a weighted subset of the data, which guarantees that models fitting the coreset also provide a good fit for the original data set. We show that, perhaps surprisingly, Gaussian mixtures admit coresets of size polynomial in dimension and the number of mixture components, while being independent of the data set size. Hence, one can harness computationally intensive algorithms to compute a good approximation on a significantly smaller data set. More importantly, such coresets can be efficiently constructed both in distributed and streaming settings and do not impose restrictions on the data generating process. Our results rely on a novel reduction of statistical estimation to problems in computational geometry and new combinatorial complexity results for mixtures of Gaussians. Empirical evaluation on several real-world datasets suggests that our coreset-based approach enables significant reduction in training-time with negligible approximation error.
Sparsification is becoming more and more relevant with the proliferation of huge data sets. Coresets are a principled way to construct representative weighted subsets of a data set that have matching performance with the full data set for specific problems. However, coreset language neglects the nature of the underlying data distribution, which is often continuous. In this paper, we address this oversight by introducing a notion of measure coresets that generalizes coreset language to arbitrary probability measures. Our definition reveals a surprising connection to optimal transport theory which we leverage to design a coreset for problems with Lipschitz costs. We validate our construction on support vector machine (SVM) training, k-means clustering, k-median clustering, and linear regression and show that we are competitive with previous coreset constructions.
Coresets are compact representations of data sets such that models trained on a coreset are provably competitive with models trained on the full data set. As such, they have been successfully used to scale up clustering models to massive data sets. While existing approaches generally only allow for multiplicative approximation errors, we propose a novel notion of coresets called lightweight coresets that allows for both multiplicative and additive errors. We provide a single algorithm to construct light-weight coresets for k-Means clustering, Bregman clustering and maximum likelihood estimation of Gaussian mixture models. The algorithm is substantially faster than existing constructions, embarrassingly parallel and resulting coresets are smaller. In an extensive experimental evaluation, we demonstrate that the proposed method outperforms existing coreset constructions.
Scaling clustering algorithms to massive data sets is a challenging task. Recently, several successful approaches based on data summarization methods, such as coresets and sketches, were proposed. While these techniques provide provably good and small summaries, they are inherently problem dependent - the practitioner has to commit to a fixed clustering objective before even exploring the data. However, can one construct small data summaries for a wide range of clustering problems simultaneously? In this work, we affirmatively answer this question by proposing an efficient algorithm that constructs such one-shot summaries for k-clustering problems while retaining strong theoretical guarantees.
How can we train a statistical mixture model on a massive data set? In this paper, we show how to construct coresets for mixtures of Gaussians and natural generalizations. A coreset is a weighted subset of the data, which guarantees that models fitting the coreset will also provide a good fit for the original data set. We show that, perhaps surprisingly, Gaussian mixtures admit coresets of size independent of the size of the data set. More precisely, we prove that a weighted set of $O(dk^3/\eps^2)$ data points suffices for computing a $(1+\eps)$-approximation for the optimal model on the original $n$ data points. Moreover, such coresets can be efficiently constructed in a map-reduce style computation, as well as in a streaming setting. Our results rely on a novel reduction of statistical estimation to problems in computational geometry, as well as new complexity results about mixtures of Gaussians. We empirically evaluate our algorithms on several real data sets, including a density estimation problem in the context of earthquake detection using accelerometers in mobile phones.