Accurate Estimation of the Intrinsic Dimension Using Graph Distances: Unraveling the Geometric Complexity of Datasets
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12613/5035
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Abstract© The Author(s) 2016. The collective behavior of a large number of degrees of freedom can be often described by a handful of variables. This observation justifies the use of dimensionality reduction approaches to model complex systems and motivates the search for a small set of relevant "collective" variables. Here, we analyze this issue by focusing on the optimal number of variable needed to capture the salient features of a generic dataset and develop a novel estimator for the intrinsic dimension (ID). By approximating geodesics with minimum distance paths on a graph, we analyze the distribution of pairwise distances around the maximum and exploit its dependency on the dimensionality to obtain an ID estimate. We show that the estimator does not depend on the shape of the intrinsic manifold and is highly accurate, even for exceedingly small sample sizes. We apply the method to several relevant datasets from image recognition databases and protein multiple sequence alignments and discuss possible interpretations for the estimated dimension in light of the correlations among input variables and of the information content of the dataset.
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