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Aspects of probabilistic modelling for data analysis

by Delannay, Nicolas

Abstract (Summary)
Computer technologies have revolutionised the processing of information and the search for knowledge. With the ever increasing computational power, it is becoming possible to tackle new data analysis applications as diverse as mining the Internet resources, analysing drugs effects on the organism or assisting wardens with autonomous video detection techniques. Fundamentally, the principle of any data analysis task is to fit a model which encodes well the dependencies (or patterns) present in the data. However, the difficulty is precisely to define such proper model when data are noisy, dependencies are highly stochastic and there is no simple physical rule to represent them. The aim of this work is to discuss the principles, the advantages and weaknesses of the probabilistic modelling framework for data analysis. The main idea of the framework is to model dispersion of data as well as uncertainty about the model itself by probability distributions. Three data analysis tasks are presented and for each of them the discussion is based on experimental results from real datasets. The first task considers the problem of linear subspaces identification. We show how one can replace a Gaussian noise model by a Student-t noise to make the identification more robust to atypical samples and still keep the learning procedure simple. The second task is about regression applied more specifically to near-infrared spectroscopy datasets. We show how spectra should be pre-processed before entering the regression model. We then analyse the validity of the Bayesian model selection principle for this application (and in particular within the Gaussian Process formulation) and compare this principle to the resampling selection scheme. The final task considered is Collaborative Filtering which is related to applications such as recommendation for e-commerce and text mining. This task is illustrative of the way how intuitive considerations can guide the design of the model and the choice of the probability distributions appearing in it. We compare the intuitive approach with a simpler matrix factorisation approach.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Université catholique de Louvain

School Location:Belgium

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:data mining machine learning bayesian statistics robust regression nir spectroscopy collaborative filtering

ISBN:

Date of Publication:10/23/2007

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