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Scientific Lectures //

Title: Visualizing Data using t-SNE

Laurens van der Maaten, Ph.D. - Delft University of Technology

Presented: October 15, 2013

ABSTRACT: Visualization techniques are essential tools for every data scientist. Unfortunately, the majority of visualization techniques can only be used to inspect a limited number of variables of interest simultaneously. As a result, these techniques are not suitable for big data that is very high-dimensional. An effective way to visualize high-dimensional data is to represent each data object by a two-dimensional point in such a way that similar objects are represented by nearby points, and that dissimilar objects are represented by distant points. The resulting two-dimensional points can be visualized in a scatter plot. This leads to a map of the data that reveals the underlying structure of the objects, such as the presence of clusters. We present a new technique to embed high-dimensional objects in a two-dimensional map, called t-Distributed Stochastic Neighbor Embedding (t-SNE), that produces substantially better results than alternative techniques. We demonstrate the value of t-SNE in domains such as computer vision and bioinformatics. In addition, we show how to scale up t-SNE to big data sets with millions of objects, and we present an approach to visualize objects of which the similarities are non-metric (such as semantic similarities).
This talk describes joint work with Geoffrey Hinton (Google / University of Toronto).

BIOGRAPHY: Laurens van der Maaten is an Assistant Professor at Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands. Before, he worked as a post-doctoral researcher at University of California, San Diego and as a Ph.D. student at Tilburg University, The Netherlands. He also worked as a visiting researcher at University of Toronto and at Imperial College London. Prof. van der Maaten's research interests are in machine learning and computer vision; his work focuses on high-dimensional data analysis, object tracking, regularization of classifiers, structured prediction as well as on applications of machine learning and computer vision to, among others, the analysis of paintings.

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