Probabilistic topographic information visualisation

  • Iain Rice

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    The focus of this thesis is the extension of topographic visualisation mappings to allow for the incorporation of uncertainty. Few visualisation algorithms in the literature are capable of mapping uncertain data with fewer able to represent observation uncertainties in visualisations. As such, modifications are made to NeuroScale, Locally Linear Embedding, Isomap and Laplacian Eigenmaps to incorporate uncertainty in the observation and visualisation spaces. The proposed mappings are then called Normally-distributed NeuroScale (N-NS), T-distributed NeuroScale (T-NS), Probabilistic LLE (PLLE), Probabilistic Isomap (PIso) and Probabilistic Weighted Neighbourhood Mapping (PWNM). These algorithms generate a probabilistic visualisation space with each latent visualised point transformed to a multivariate Gaussian or T-distribution, using a feed-forward RBF network.
    Two types of uncertainty are then characterised dependent on the data and mapping procedure. Data dependent uncertainty is the inherent observation uncertainty. Whereas, mapping uncertainty is defined by the Fisher Information of a visualised distribution. This indicates how well the data has been interpolated, offering a level of ‘surprise’ for each observation. These new probabilistic mappings are tested on three datasets of vectorial observations and three datasets of real world time series observations for anomaly detection. In order to visualise the time series data, a method for analysing observed signals and noise distributions, Residual Modelling, is introduced.
    The performance of the new algorithms on the tested datasets is compared qualitatively with the latent space generated by the Gaussian Process Latent Variable Model (GPLVM). A quantitative comparison using existing evaluation measures from the literature allows performance of each mapping function to be compared.
    Finally, the mapping uncertainty measure is combined with NeuroScale to build a deep learning classifier, the Cascading RBF. This new structure is tested on the MNist dataset achieving world record performance whilst avoiding the flaws seen in other Deep Learning Machines.
    Date of Award30 Oct 2015
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Aston University
    • Aston University
    SupervisorDavid Lowe (Supervisor) & Ian T. Nabney (Supervisor)


    • visualisation
    • uncertainty
    • dissimilarity
    • RBF network

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