**COBRAS**

Constraint-based clustering algorithms exploit background knowledge to construct clusterings that are aligned with the interests of a particular user. This background knowledge is often obtained by allowing the clustering system to pose pairwise queries to the user: should these two elements be in the same cluster or not? Active clustering methods aim to minimize the number of queries needed to obtain a good clustering by querying the most informative pairs first. Ideally, a user should be able to answer a couple of these queries, inspect the resulting clustering, and repeat these two steps until a satisfactory result is obtained. We present COBRAS, an approach to active clustering with pairwise constraints that is suited for such an interactive clustering process. A core concept in COBRAS is that of a super-instance: a local region in the data in which all instances are assumed to belong to the same cluster. COBRAS constructs such super-instances in a top-down manner to produce high-quality results early on in the clustering process, and keeps refining these super-instances as more pairwise queries are given to get more detailed clusterings later on. We experimentally demonstrate that COBRAS produces good clusterings at fast run times, making it an excellent candidate for the iterative clustering scenario outlined above. … **Random Warping Series (RWS)**

Time series data analytics has been a problem of substantial interests for decades, and Dynamic Time Warping (DTW) has been the most widely adopted technique to measure dissimilarity between time series. A number of global-alignment kernels have since been proposed in the spirit of DTW to extend its use to kernel-based estimation method such as support vector machine. However, those kernels suffer from diagonal dominance of the Gram matrix and a quadratic complexity w.r.t. the sample size. In this work, we study a family of alignment-aware positive definite (p.d.) kernels, with its feature embedding given by a distribution of \emph{Random Warping Series (RWS)}. The proposed kernel does not suffer from the issue of diagonal dominance while naturally enjoys a \emph{Random Features} (RF) approximation, which reduces the computational complexity of existing DTW-based techniques from quadratic to linear in terms of both the number and the length of time-series. We also study the convergence of the RF approximation for the domain of time series of unbounded length. Our extensive experiments on 16 benchmark datasets demonstrate that RWS outperforms or matches state-of-the-art classification and clustering methods in both accuracy and computational time. Our code and data is available at { \url{https://…/RandomWarpingSeries}}. … **Anaconda**

We investigate distribution testing with access to non-adaptive conditional samples. In the conditional sampling model, the algorithm is given the following access to a distribution: it submits a query set $S$ to an oracle, which returns a sample from the distribution conditioned on being from $S$. In the non-adaptive setting, all query sets must be specified in advance of viewing the outcomes. Our main result is the first polylogarithmic-query algorithm for equivalence testing, deciding whether two unknown distributions are equal to or far from each other. This is an exponential improvement over the previous best upper bound, and demonstrates that the complexity of the problem in this model is intermediate to the the complexity of the problem in the standard sampling model and the adaptive conditional sampling model. We also significantly improve the sample complexity for the easier problems of uniformity and identity testing. For the former, our algorithm requires only $\tilde O(\log n)$ queries, matching the information-theoretic lower bound up to a $O(\log \log n)$-factor. Our algorithm works by reducing the problem from $\ell_1$-testing to $\ell_\infty$-testing, which enjoys a much cheaper sample complexity. Necessitated by the limited power of the non-adaptive model, our algorithm is very simple to state. However, there are significant challenges in the analysis, due to the complex structure of how two arbitrary distributions may differ. … **Variational Contrastive Divergence (VCD)**

We develop a method to combine Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) and variational inference (VI), leveraging the advantages of both inference approaches. Specifically, we improve the variational distribution by running a few MCMC steps. To make inference tractable, we introduce the variational contrastive divergence (VCD), a new divergence that replaces the standard Kullback-Leibler (KL) divergence used in VI. The VCD captures a notion of discrepancy between the initial variational distribution and its improved version (obtained after running the MCMC steps), and it converges asymptotically to the symmetrized KL divergence between the variational distribution and the posterior of interest. The VCD objective can be optimized efficiently with respect to the variational parameters via stochastic optimization. We show experimentally that optimizing the VCD leads to better predictive performance on two latent variable models: logistic matrix factorization and variational autoencoders (VAEs). …

# If you did not already know

**30**
*Monday*
Jan 2023

Posted What is ...

in