Seminar 7/12/18: Infinite mixtures of infinite factor analysers (IMIFA)

Infinite Mixtures of Infinite Factor Analysers (IMIFA)
Isobel Claire Gormley
Insight Centre for Data Analytics, University College Dublin
Friday 7 December 2018
1pm, Blue Room, 4th floor, Main Building, DIT Kevin Street


Factor-analytic Gaussian mixture models are often employed as a model-based approach to clustering high-dimensional data. Typically, the numbers of clusters and latent factors must be specified in advance of model fitting, and the optimal pair selected using a model choice criterion. For computational reasons, models in which the number of latent factors is common across clusters are generally considered.

Here the infinite mixture of infinite factor analysers (IMIFA) model is introduced. IMIFA employs a Poisson-Dirichlet process prior to facilitate automatic inference on the number of clusters. Further, IMIFA employs shrinkage priors to allow cluster specific numbers of factors, automatically inferred via an adaptive Gibbs sampler. IMIFA is presented as the flagship of a family of factor-analytic mixture models, providing flexible approaches to clustering highdimensional data.

Applications to benchmark and real data sets illustrate the IMIFA model and its advantageous features: IMIFA obviates the need for model selection criteria, reduces model search and associated computational burden, improves clustering performance by allowing cluster-specific numbers of factors, and quantifies uncertainty in the numbers of clusters and cluster-specific factors.