Information-Theoretic Metric Learning

author: Jason Davis, Stanford University
published: Feb. 25, 2007,   recorded: December 2006,   views: 6405


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We formulate the metric learning problem as that of minimizing the differential relative entropy between two multivariate Gaussians under constraints on the Mahalanobis distance function. Via a surprising equivalence, we show that this problem can be solved as a low-rank kernel learning problem. Specifically, we minimize the Burg divergence of a low-rank kernel to an input kernel, subject to pairwise distance constraints. Our approach has several advantages over existing methods. First, we present a natural information-theoretic formulation for the problem. Second, the algorithm utilizes the methods developed by Kulis et al. [6], which do not involve any eigenvector computation; in particular, the running time of our method is faster than most existing techniques. Third, the formulation offers insights into connections between metric learning and kernel learning.

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