Visual Machine Learning: Insight through Eigenvectors, Chladni patterns and community detection in 2D particulate structures

01/02/2020
by   Raj Kishore, et al.
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Machine learning (ML) is quickly emerging as a powerful tool with diverse applications across an extremely broad spectrum of disciplines and commercial endeavors. Typically, ML is used as a black box that provides little illuminating rationalization of its output. In the current work, we aim to better understand the generic intuition underlying unsupervised ML with a focus on physical systems. The systems that are studied here as test cases comprise of six different 2-dimensional (2-D) particulate systems of different complexities. It is noted that the findings of this study are generic to any unsupervised ML problem and are not restricted to materials systems alone. Three rudimentary unsupervised ML techniques are employed on the adjacency (connectivity) matrix of the six studied systems: (i) using principal eigenvalue and eigenvectors of the adjacency matrix, (ii) spectral decomposition, and (iii) a Potts model based community detection technique in which a modularity function is maximized. We demonstrate that, while solving a completely classical problem, ML technique produces features that are distinctly connected to quantum mechanical solutions. Dissecting these features help us to understand the deep connection between the classical non-linear world and the quantum mechanical linear world through the kaleidoscope of ML technique, which might have far reaching consequences both in the arena of physical sciences and ML.

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