Quantizing Density Estimators

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 14 (NIPS 2001)

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Peter Meinicke, Helge Ritter


We suggest a nonparametric framework for unsupervised learning of projection models in terms of density estimation on quantized sample spaces. The objective is not to optimally reconstruct the data but in- stead the quantizer is chosen to optimally reconstruct the density of the data. For the resulting quantizing density estimator (QDE) we present a general method for parameter estimation and model selection. We show how projection sets which correspond to traditional unsupervised meth- ods like vector quantization or PCA appear in the new framework. For a principal component quantizer we present results on synthetic and real- world data, which show that the QDE can improve the generalization of the kernel density estimator although its estimate is based on signi´Čücantly lower-dimensional projection indices of the data.