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Estimating the Support of a High-Dimensional Distribution

MIT Press
Publication Date
  • Computer Science


Suppose you are given some data set drawn from an underlying probability distribution P and you want to estimate a “simple” subset S of input space such that the probability that a test point drawn from P lies outside of S equals some a priori specified value between 0 and 1. We propose a method to approach this problem by trying to estimate a function f that is positive on S and negative on the complement. The functional form of f is given by a kernel expansion in terms of a potentially small subset of the training data; it is regularized by controlling the length of the weight vector in an associated feature space. The expansion coefficients are found by solving a quadratic programming problem, which we do by carrying out sequential optimization over pairs of input patterns. We also provide a theoretical analysis of the statistical performance of our algorithm. The algorithm is a natural extension of the support vector algorithm to the case of unlabeled data.

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