Infinite latent feature models and the Indian buffet process

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 18 (NIPS 2005)

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Zoubin Ghahramani, Thomas Griffiths


We define a probability distribution over equivalence classes of binary matrices with a finite number of rows and an unbounded number of columns. This distribution is suitable for use as a prior in probabilistic models that represent objects using a potentially infinite array of features. We identify a simple generative process that results in the same distribution over equivalence classes, which we call the Indian buffet process. We illustrate the use of this distribution as a prior in an infinite latent feature model, deriving a Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm for inference in this model and applying the algorithm to an image dataset.