Differential Entropic Clustering of Multivariate Gaussians

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 19 (NIPS 2006)

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Jason Davis, Inderjit Dhillon


Gaussian data is pervasive and many learning algorithms (e.g., k -means) model their inputs as a single sample drawn from a multivariate Gaussian. However, in many real-life settings, each input object is best described by multiple samples drawn from a multivariate Gaussian. Such data can arise, for example, in a movie review database where each movie is rated by several users, or in time-series domains such as sensor networks. Here, each input can be naturally described by both a mean vector and covariance matrix which parameterize the Gaussian distribution. In this paper, we consider the problem of clustering such input objects, each represented as a multivariate Gaussian. We formulate the problem using an information theoretic approach and draw several interesting theoretical connections to Bregman divergences and also Bregman matrix divergences. We evaluate our method across several domains, including synthetic data, sensor network data, and a statistical debugging application.