Data modeling with the elliptical gamma distribution

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Suvrit Sra, Reshad Hosseini, Lucas Theis, Matthias Bethge ;
Proceedings of the Eighteenth International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics, PMLR 38:903-911, 2015.

Abstract

We study mixture modeling using the elliptical gamma (EG) distribution, a non-Gaussian distribution that allows heavy and light tail and peak behaviors. We first consider maximum likelihood parameter estimation, a task that turns out to be very challenging: we must handle positive definiteness constraints, and more crucially, we must handle possibly nonconcave log-likelihoods, which makes maximization hard. We overcome these difficulties by developing algorithms based on fixed-point theory; our methods respect the psd constraint, while also efficiently solving the (possibly) nonconcave maximization to global optimality. Subsequently, we focus on mixture modeling using EG distributions: we present a closed-form expression of the KL-divergence between two EG distributions, which we then combine with our ML estimation methods to obtain an efficient split-and-merge expectation maximization algorithm. We illustrate the use of our model and algorithms on a dataset of natural image patches.

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