Nonparametric Estimation of Multi-View Latent Variable Models

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Le Song, Animashree Anandkumar, Bo Dai, Bo Xie ;
Proceedings of the 31st International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 32(2):640-648, 2014.

Abstract

Spectral methods have greatly advanced the estimation of latent variable models, generating a sequence of novel and efficient algorithms with strong theoretical guarantees. However, current spectral algorithms are largely restricted to mixtures of discrete or Gaussian distributions. In this paper, we propose a kernel method for learning multi-view latent variable models, allowing each mixture component to be nonparametric and learned from data in an unsupervised fashion. The key idea of our method is to embed the joint distribution of a multi-view latent variable model into a reproducing kernel Hilbert space, and then the latent parameters are recovered using a robust tensor power method. We establish that the sample complexity for the proposed method is quadratic in the number of latent components and is a low order polynomial in the other relevant parameters. Thus, our nonparametric tensor approach to learning latent variable models enjoys good sample and computational efficiencies. As a special case of our framework, we also obtain a first unsupervised conditional density estimator of the kind with provable guarantees. In both synthetic and real world datasets, the nonparametric tensor power method compares favorably to EM algorithm and other spectral algorithms.

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