Spectral Chinese Restaurant Processes: Nonparametric Clustering Based on Similarities


Richard Socher, Andrew Maas, Christopher Manning ;
Proceedings of the Fourteenth International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics, PMLR 15:698-706, 2011.


We introduce a new nonparametric clustering model which combines the recently proposed distance-dependent Chinese restaurant process (dd-CRP) and non-linear, spectral methods for dimensionality reduction. Our model retains the ability of nonparametric methods to learn the number of clusters from data. At the same time it addresses two key limitations of nonparametric Bayesian methods: modeling data that are not exchangeable and have many correlated features. Spectral methods use the similarity between documents to map them into a low-dimensional spectral space where we then compare several clustering methods. Our experiments on handwritten digits and text documents show that nonparametric methods such as the CRP or dd-CRP can perform as well as or better than k-means and also recover the true number of clusters. We improve the performance of the dd-CRP in spectral space by incorporating the original similarity matrix in its prior. This simple modification results in better performance than all other methods we compared to. We offer a new formulation and first experimental evaluation of a general Gibbs sampler for mixture modeling with distance-dependent CRPs. [pdf]

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