Persistent Homology for Learning Densities with Bounded Support

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 25 (NIPS 2012)

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Florian Pokorny, Hedvig Kjellström, Danica Kragic, Carl Ek


We present a novel method for learning densities with bounded support which enables us to incorporate `hard' topological constraints. In particular, we show how emerging techniques from computational algebraic topology and the notion of Persistent Homology can be combined with kernel based methods from Machine Learning for the purpose of density estimation. The proposed formalism facilitates learning of models with bounded support in a principled way, and -- by incorporating Persistent Homology techniques in our approach -- we are able to encode algebraic-topological constraints which are not addressed in current state-of the art probabilistic models. We study the behaviour of our method on two synthetic examples for various sample sizes and exemplify the benefits of the proposed approach on a real-world data-set by learning a motion model for a racecar. We show how to learn a model which respects the underlying topological structure of the racetrack, constraining the trajectories of the car.