Information retrieval perspective to nonlinear dimensionality reduction for data visualization
Nonlinear dimensionality reduction methods are often used to visualize high-dimensional data, although the existing methods have been designed for other related tasks such as manifold learning. It has been difficult to assess the quality of visualizations since the task has not been well-defined. We give a rigorous definition for a specific visualization task, resulting in quantifiable goodness measures and new visualization methods. The task is information retrieval given the visualization: to find similar data based on the similarities shown on the display. The fundamental tradeoff between precision and recall of information retrieval can then be quantified in visualizations as well. The user needs to give the relative cost of missing similar points vs. retrieving dissimilar points, after which the total cost can be measured. We then introduce a new method NeRV (neighbor retrieval visualizer) which produces an optimal visualization by minimizing the cost. We further derive a variant for supervised visualization; class information is taken rigorously into account when computing the similarity relationships. We show empirically that the unsupervised version outperforms existing unsupervised dimensionality reduction methods in the visualization task, and the supervised version outperforms existing supervised methods. This material is presented to ensure timely dissemination of scholarly and technical work. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by authors or by other copyright holders. All persons copying this information are expected to adhere to the terms and constraints invoked by each author's copyright. In most cases, these works may not be reposted without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.