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Unsupervised learning aims to capture the underlying structure of potentially large and high-dimensional datasets. Traditionally, this involves using dimensionality reduction methods to project data onto interpretable spaces or organizing points into meaningful clusters. In practice, these methods are used sequentially, without guaranteeing that the clustering aligns well with the conducted dimensionality reduction. In this work, we offer a fresh perspective: that of distributions. Leveraging tools from optimal transport, particularly the Gromov-Wasserstein distance, we unify clustering and dimensionality reduction into a single framework called distributional reduction. This allows us to jointly address clustering and dimensionality reduction with a single optimization problem. Through comprehensive experiments, we highlight the versatility and interpretability of our method and show that it outperforms existing approaches across a variety of image and genomics datasets.

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We consider the problem of learning a graph modeling the statistical relations of the $d$ variables of a dataset with $n$ samples $X \in \mathbb{R}^{n \times d}$. Standard approaches amount to searching for a precision matrix $\Theta$ representative of a Gaussian graphical model that adequately explains the data. However, most maximum likelihood-based estimators usually require storing the $d^{2}$ values of the empirical covariance matrix, which can become prohibitive in a high-dimensional setting. In this work, we adopt a compressive viewpoint and aim to estimate a sparse $\Theta$ from a sketch of the data, i.e. a low-dimensional vector of size $m \ll d^{2}$ carefully designed from $X$ using nonlinear random features. Under certain assumptions on the spectrum of $\Theta$ (or its condition number), we show that it is possible to estimate it from a sketch of size $m=\Omega((d+2k)\log(d))$ where $k$ is the maximal number of edges of the underlying graph. These information-theoretic guarantees are inspired by compressed sensing theory and involve restricted isometry properties and instance optimal decoders. We investigate the possibility of achieving practical recovery with an iterative algorithm based on the graphical lasso, viewed as a specific denoiser. We compare our approach and graphical lasso on synthetic datasets, demonstrating its favorable performance even when the dataset is compressed.

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We present a versatile adaptation of existing dimensionality reduction (DR) objectives, enabling the simultaneous reduction of both sample and feature sizes. Correspondances between input and embedding samples are computed through a semi-relaxed Gromov-Wasserstein optimal transport (OT) problem. When the embedding sample size matches that of the input, our model recovers classical popular DR models. When the embedding's dimensionality is unconstrained, we show that the OT plan delivers a competitive hard clustering. We emphasize the importance of intermediate stages that blend DR and clustering for summarizing real data and apply our method to visualize datasets of images.

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Regularising the primal formulation of optimal transport (OT) with a strictly convex term leads to enhanced numerical complexity and a denser transport plan. Many formulations impose a global constraint on the transport plan, for instance by relying on entropic regularisation. As it is more expensive to diffuse mass for outlier points compared to central ones, this typically results in a significant imbalance in the way mass is spread across the points. This can be detrimental for some applications where a minimum of smoothing is required per point. To remedy this, we introduce OT with Adaptive RegularIsation (OTARI), a new formulation of OT that imposes constraints on the mass going in or/and out of each point. We then showcase the benefits of this approach for domain adaptation.

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We provide a framework and algorithm for tuning the hyperparameters of the Graphical Lasso via a bilevel optimization problem solved with a first-order method. In particular, we derive the Jacobian of the Graphical Lasso solution with respect to its regularization hyperparameters.

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Many approaches in machine learning rely on a weighted graph to encode the similarities between samples in a dataset. Entropic affinities (EAs), which are notably used in the popular Dimensionality Reduction (DR) algorithm t-SNE, are particular instances of such graphs. To ensure robustness to heterogeneous sampling densities, EAs assign a kernel bandwidth parameter to every sample in such a way that the entropy of each row in the affinity matrix is kept constant at a specific value, whose exponential is known as perplexity. EAs are inherently asymmetric and row-wise stochastic, but they are used in DR approaches after undergoing heuristic symmetrization methods that violate both the row-wise constant entropy and stochasticity properties. In this work, we uncover a novel characterization of EA as an optimal transport problem, allowing a natural symmetrization that can be computed efficiently using dual ascent. The corresponding novel affinity matrix derives advantages from symmetric doubly stochastic normalization in terms of clustering performance, while also effectively controlling the entropy of each row thus making it particularly robust to varying noise levels. Following, we present a new DR algorithm, SNEkhorn, that leverages this new affinity matrix. We show its clear superiority to state-of-the-art approaches with several indicators on both synthetic and real-world datasets.

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Dimension reduction (DR) methods provide systematic approaches for analyzing high-dimensional data. A key requirement for DR is to incorporate global dependencies among original and embedded samples while preserving clusters in the embedding space. To achieve this, we combine the principles of optimal transport (OT) and principal component analysis (PCA). Our method seeks the best linear subspace that minimizes reconstruction error using entropic OT, which naturally encodes the neighborhood information of the samples. From an algorithmic standpoint, we propose an efficient block-majorization-minimization solver over the Stiefel manifold. Our experimental results demonstrate that our approach can effectively preserve high-dimensional clusters, leading to more interpretable and effective embeddings. Python code of the algorithms and experiments is available online.

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Current Graph Neural Networks (GNN) architectures generally rely on two important components: node features embedding through message passing, and aggregation with a specialized form of pooling. The structural (or topological) information is implicitly taken into account in these two steps. We propose in this work a novel point of view, which places distances to some learnable graph templates at the core of the graph representation. This distance embedding is constructed thanks to an optimal transport distance: the Fused Gromov-Wasserstein (FGW) distance, which encodes simultaneously feature and structure dissimilarities by solving a soft graph-matching problem. We postulate that the vector of FGW distances to a set of template graphs has a strong discriminative power, which is then fed to a non-linear classifier for final predictions. Distance embedding can be seen as a new layer, and can leverage on existing message passing techniques to promote sensible feature representations. Interestingly enough, in our work the optimal set of template graphs is also learnt in an end-to-end fashion by differentiating through this layer. After describing the corresponding learning procedure, we empirically validate our claim on several synthetic and real life graph classification datasets, where our method is competitive or surpasses kernel and GNN state-of-the-art approaches. We complete our experiments by an ablation study and a sensitivity analysis to parameters.

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Comparing probability distributions is at the crux of many machine learning algorithms. Maximum Mean Discrepancies (MMD) and Optimal Transport distances (OT) are two classes of distances between probability measures that have attracted abundant attention in past years. This paper establishes some conditions under which the Wasserstein distance can be controlled by MMD norms. Our work is motivated by the compressive statistical learning (CSL) theory, a general framework for resource-efficient large scale learning in which the training data is summarized in a single vector (called sketch) that captures the information relevant to the considered learning task. Inspired by existing results in CSL, we introduce the H\"older Lower Restricted Isometric Property (H\"older LRIP) and show that this property comes with interesting guarantees for compressive statistical learning. Based on the relations between the MMD and the Wasserstein distance, we provide guarantees for compressive statistical learning by introducing and studying the concept of Wasserstein learnability of the learning task, that is when some task-specific metric between probability distributions can be bounded by a Wasserstein distance.

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Comparing structured objects such as graphs is a fundamental operation involved in many learning tasks. To this end, the Gromov-Wasserstein (GW) distance, based on Optimal Transport (OT), has proven to be successful in handling the specific nature of the associated objects. More specifically, through the nodes connectivity relations, GW operates on graphs, seen as probability measures over specific spaces. At the core of OT is the idea of conservation of mass, which imposes a coupling between all the nodes from the two considered graphs. We argue in this paper that this property can be detrimental for tasks such as graph dictionary or partition learning, and we relax it by proposing a new semi-relaxed Gromov-Wasserstein divergence. Aside from immediate computational benefits, we discuss its properties, and show that it can lead to an efficient graph dictionary learning algorithm. We empirically demonstrate its relevance for complex tasks on graphs such as partitioning, clustering and completion.

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