Learning from incomplete data

Zoubin Ghahramani and Michael I. Jordan, Dept. of Brain & Cognitive Sciences,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139

Real-world learning tasks often involve high-dimensional data sets with complex patterns of missing features. In this paper we review the problem of learning from incomplete data from two statistical perspectives---the likelihood-based and the Bayesian. The goal is two-fold: to place current neural network approaches to missing data within a statistical framework, and to describe a set of algorithms, derived from the likelihood-based framework, that handle clustering, classification, and function approximation from incomplete data in a principled and efficient manner. These algorithms are based on mixture modeling and make two distinct appeals to the Expectation-Maximization (EM) principle (Dempster, Laird, and Rubin 1977)---both for the estimation of mixture components and for coping with the missing data.

CBCL Technical Report # 108. Center for Biological and Computational Learning. MIT, Cambridge, MA 02139, 1994. [postscript] [pdf].

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