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An efficient ECM algorithm for maximum likelihood estimation in mixtures of t-factor analyzers


  • Wan-Lun Wang
  • Tsung-I Lin



Mixture of t factor analyzers (MtFA) have been shown to be a sound model-based tool for robust clustering of high-dimensional data. This approach, which is deemed to be one of natural parametric extensions with respect to normal-theory models, allows for accommodation of potential noise components, atypical observations or data with longer-than-normal tails. In this paper, we propose an efficient expectation conditional maximization (ECM) algorithm for fast maximum likelihood estimation of MtFA. The proposed algorithm inherits all appealing properties of the ordinary EM algorithm such as its stability and monotonicity, but has a faster convergence rate since its CM steps are governed by a much smaller fraction of missing information. Numerical experiments based on simulated and real data show that the new procedure outperforms the commonly used EM and AECM algorithms substantially in most of the situations, regardless of how the convergence speed is assessed by the computing time or number of iterations. Copyright Springer-Verlag 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Wan-Lun Wang & Tsung-I Lin, 2013. "An efficient ECM algorithm for maximum likelihood estimation in mixtures of t-factor analyzers," Computational Statistics, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 751-769, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:compst:v:28:y:2013:i:2:p:751-769
    DOI: 10.1007/s00180-012-0327-z

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Tzy-Chy Lin & Tsung-I Lin, 2010. "Supervised learning of multivariate skew normal mixture models with missing information," Computational Statistics, Springer, vol. 25(2), pages 183-201, June.
    2. McLachlan, G. J. & Peel, D. & Bean, R. W., 2003. "Modelling high-dimensional data by mixtures of factor analyzers," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-4), pages 379-388, January.
    3. McLachlan, G.J. & Bean, R.W. & Ben-Tovim Jones, L., 2007. "Extension of the mixture of factor analyzers model to incorporate the multivariate t-distribution," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 51(11), pages 5327-5338, July.
    4. Tsung-I Lin & Hsiu Ho & Pao Shen, 2009. "Computationally efficient learning of multivariate t mixture models with missing information," Computational Statistics, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 375-392, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:jmvana:v:161:y:2017:i:c:p:157-171 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Lin, Tsung-I & McLachlan, Geoffrey J. & Lee, Sharon X., 2016. "Extending mixtures of factor models using the restricted multivariate skew-normal distribution," Journal of Multivariate Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 398-413.
    3. Wang, Wan-Lun, 2015. "Mixtures of common t-factor analyzers for modeling high-dimensional data with missing values," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 223-235.
    4. Lin, Tsung-I & McNicholas, Paul D. & Ho, Hsiu J., 2014. "Capturing patterns via parsimonious t mixture models," Statistics & Probability Letters, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 80-87.
    5. repec:eee:jmvana:v:164:y:2018:i:c:p:65-82 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Anastasios Bellas & Charles Bouveyron & Marie Cottrell & Jérôme Lacaille, 2013. "Model-based clustering of high-dimensional data streams with online mixture of probabilistic PCA," Advances in Data Analysis and Classification, Springer;German Classification Society - Gesellschaft für Klassifikation (GfKl);Japanese Classification Society (JCS);Classification and Data Analysis Group of the Italian Statistical Society (CLADAG);International Federation of Classification Societies (IFCS), vol. 7(3), pages 281-300, September.
    7. Zhao, Jianhua & Shi, Lei, 2014. "Automated learning of factor analysis with complete and incomplete data," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 205-218.
    8. Tsung-I Lin & Pal Wu & Geoffrey McLachlan & Sharon Lee, 2015. "A robust factor analysis model using the restricted skew- $$t$$ t distribution," TEST: An Official Journal of the Spanish Society of Statistics and Operations Research, Springer;Sociedad de Estadística e Investigación Operativa, vol. 24(3), pages 510-531, September.


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