On Slicing Optimality for Mutual Information

Ammar Fayad · Majd Ibrahim

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #1826
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Wed 13 Dec 8:45 a.m. PST — 10:45 a.m. PST


Measuring dependence between two random variables is of great importance in various domains but is difficult to compute in today's complex environments with high-dimensional data. Recently, slicing methods have shown to be a scalable approach to measuring mutual information (MI) between high-dimensional variables by projecting these variables into one-dimensional spaces. Unfortunately, these methods use uniform distributions of slicing directions, which generally discard informative features between variables and thus lead to inaccurate quantification of dependence. In this paper, we propose a principled framework that searches for an \textit{optimal} distribution of slices for MI. Importantly, we answer theoretical questions about finding the optimal slicing distribution in the context of MI and develop corresponding theoretical analyses. We also develop a practical algorithm, connecting our theoretical results with modern machine learning frameworks. Through comprehensive experiments in benchmark domains, we demonstrate significant gains in our information measure than state-of-the-art baselines.

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