Multiple Cause Vector Quantization

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 15 (NIPS 2002)

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David Ross, Richard Zemel


We propose a model that can learn parts-based representations of high- dimensional data. Our key assumption is that the dimensions of the data can be separated into several disjoint subsets, or factors, which take on values independently of each other. We assume each factor has a small number of discrete states, and model it using a vector quantizer. The selected states of each factor represent the multiple causes of the input. Given a set of training examples, our model learns the association of data dimensions with factors, as well as the states of each VQ. Inference and learning are carried out efficiently via variational algorithms. We present applications of this model to problems in image decomposition, collaborative filtering, and text classification.