Improving Nonparametric Density Estimation with Tensor Decompositions

10/06/2020
by   Robert A. Vandermeulen, et al.
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While nonparametric density estimators often perform well on low dimensional data, their performance can suffer when applied to higher dimensional data, owing presumably to the curse of dimensionality. One technique for avoiding this is to assume no dependence between features and that the data are sampled from a separable density. This allows one to estimate each marginal distribution independently thereby avoiding the slow rates associated with estimating the full joint density. This is a strategy employed in naive Bayes models and is analogous to estimating a rank-one tensor. In this paper we investigate whether these improvements can be extended to other simplified dependence assumptions which we model via nonnegative tensor decompositions. In our central theoretical results we prove that restricting estimation to low-rank nonnegative PARAFAC or Tucker decompositions removes the dimensionality exponent on bin width rates for multidimensional histograms. These results are validated experimentally with high statistical significance via direct application of existing nonnegative tensor factorization to histogram estimators.

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