Hierarchical Latent Class Models for Cluster Analysis

Nevin L. Zhang, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Latent class models are used for cluster analysis of categorical data. Underlying such a model is the assumption that the observed variables are mutually independent given the class variable. A serious problem with the use of latent class models, known as local dependence, is that this assumption is often untrue. In this paper we propose hierarchical latent class models as a framework where the local dependence problem can be addressed in a principled manner. We develop a search-based algorithm for learning hierarchical latent class models from data. The algorithm is evaluated using both synthetic and real-world data.


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