Maximum likelihood estimation of robust constrained Gaussian mixture models
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Density estimation using Gaussian mixture models presents a fundamental trade off between the flexibility of the model and its sensitivity to the unwanted/unmodeled data points in the data set. The expectation maximization (EM) algorithm used to estimate the parameters of Gaussian mixture models is prone to local optima due to nonconvexity of the problem and the improper selection of parameterization. We propose a novel modeling framework, three different parameterizations and novel algorithms for the constrained Gaussian mixture density estimation problem based on the expectation maximization algorithm, convex duality theory and the stochastic search algorithms. We propose a new modeling framework called Constrained Gaussian Mixture Models (CGMM) that incorporates prior information into the density estimation problem in the form of convex constraints on the model parameters. In this context, we consider two different parameterizations where the first set of parameters are referred to as the information parameters and the second set of parameters are referred to as the source parameters. To estimate the parameters, we use the EM algorithm where we solve two optimization problems alternatingly in the E-step and the M-step. We show that the M-step corresponds to a convex optimization problem in the information parameters. We form a dual problem for the M-step and show that the dual problem corresponds to a convex optimization problem in the source parameters. We apply the CGMM framework to two different problems: Robust density estimation and compound object detection problems. In the robust density estimation problem, we incorporate the inlier/outlier information available for small number of data points as convex constraints on the parameters using the information parameters. In the compound object detection problem, we incorporate the relative size, spectral distribution structure and relative location relations of primitive objects as convex constraints on the parameters using the source parameters. Even with the propoper selection of the parameterization, density estimation problem for Gaussian mixture models is not jointly convex in both the E-step variables and the M-step variables. We propose a third parameterization based on eigenvalue decomposition of covariance matrices which is suitable for stochastic search algorithms in general and particle swarm optimization (PSO) algorithm in particular. We develop a new algorithm where global search skills of the PSO algorithm is incorporated into the EM algorithm to do global parameter estimation. In addition to the mathematical derivations, experimental results on synthetic and real-life data sets verifying the performance of the proposed algorithms are provided.
KeywordsGaussian mixture models
particle swarm optimization