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Learning in High Dimensional Spaces: Overviews


The unreasonable effectiveness of small neural ensembles in high-dimensional brain

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Despite the widely-spread consensus on the brain complexity, sprouts of the single neuron revolution emerged in neuroscience in the 1970s. They brought many unexpected discoveries, including grandmother or concept cells and sparse coding of information in the brain. In machine learning for a long time, the famous curse of dimensionality seemed to be an unsolvable problem. Nevertheless, the idea of the blessing of dimensionality becomes gradually more and more popular. Ensembles of non-interacting or weakly interacting simple units prove to be an effective tool for solving essentially multidimensional problems. This approach is especially useful for one-shot (non-iterative) correction of errors in large legacy artificial intelligence systems. These simplicity revolutions in the era of complexity have deep fundamental reasons grounded in geometry of multidimensional data spaces. To explore and understand these reasons we revisit the background ideas of statistical physics. In the course of the 20th century they were developed into the concentration of measure theory. New stochastic separation theorems reveal the fine structure of the data clouds. We review and analyse biological, physical, and mathematical problems at the core of the fundamental question: how can high-dimensional brain organise reliable and fast learning in high-dimensional world of data by simple tools? Two critical applications are reviewed to exemplify the approach: one-shot correction of errors in intellectual systems and emergence of static and associative memories in ensembles of single neurons.


Continuum directions for supervised dimension reduction

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Dimension reduction of multivariate data supervised by auxiliary information is considered. A series of basis for dimension reduction is obtained as minimizers of a novel criterion. The proposed method is akin to continuum regression, and the resulting basis is called continuum directions. With a presence of binary supervision data, these directions continuously bridge the principal component, mean difference and linear discriminant directions, thus ranging from unsupervised to fully supervised dimension reduction. High-dimensional asymptotic studies of continuum directions for binary supervision reveal several interesting facts. The conditions under which the sample continuum directions are inconsistent, but their classification performance is good, are specified. While the proposed method can be directly used for binary and multi-category classification, its generalizations to incorporate any form of auxiliary data are also presented. The proposed method enjoys fast computation, and the performance is better or on par with more computer-intensive alternatives.


Universality laws for randomized dimension reduction, with applications

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Dimension reduction is the process of embedding high-dimensional data into a lower dimensional space to facilitate its analysis. In the Euclidean setting, one fundamental technique for dimension reduction is to apply a random linear map to the data. This dimension reduction procedure succeeds when it preserves certain geometric features of the set. The question is how large the embedding dimension must be to ensure that randomized dimension reduction succeeds with high probability. This paper studies a natural family of randomized dimension reduction maps and a large class of data sets. It proves that there is a phase transition in the success probability of the dimension reduction map as the embedding dimension increases. For a given data set, the location of the phase transition is the same for all maps in this family. Furthermore, each map has the same stability properties, as quantified through the restricted minimum singular value. These results can be viewed as new universality laws in high-dimensional stochastic geometry. Universality laws for randomized dimension reduction have many applications in applied mathematics, signal processing, and statistics. They yield design principles for numerical linear algebra algorithms, for compressed sensing measurement ensembles, and for random linear codes. Furthermore, these results have implications for the performance of statistical estimation methods under a large class of random experimental designs.