Efficient Sparse Clustering of High-Dimensional Non-spherical Gaussian Mixtures

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Martin Azizyan, Aarti Singh, Larry Wasserman ;
Proceedings of the Eighteenth International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics, PMLR 38:37-45, 2015.

Abstract

We consider the problem of clustering data points in high dimensions, i.e., when the number of data points may be much smaller than the number of dimensions. Specifically, we consider a Gaussian mixture model (GMM) with two non-spherical Gaussian components, where the clusters are distinguished by only a few relevant dimensions. The method we propose is a combination of a recent approach for learning parameters of a Gaussian mixture model and sparse linear discriminant analysis (LDA). In addition to cluster assignments, the method returns an estimate of the set of features relevant for clustering. Our results indicate that the sample complexity of clustering depends on the sparsity of the relevant feature set, while only scaling logarithmically with the ambient dimension. Further, we require much milder assumptions than existing work on clustering in high dimensions. In particular, we do not require spherical clusters nor necessitate mean separation along relevant dimensions.

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