## Abstract

A first line of attack in exploratory data analysis is data visualization, i.e., generating a 2-dimensional representation of data that makes clusters of similar points visually identifiable. Standard Johnson-Lindenstrauss dimensionality reduction does not produce data visualizations. The t-SNE heuristic of van der Maaten and Hinton, which is based on non-convex optimization, has become the de facto standard for visualization in a wide range of applications. This work gives a formal framework for the problem of data visualization – finding a 2-dimensional embedding of clusterable data that correctly separates individual clusters to make them visually identifiable. We then give a rigorous analysis of the performance of t-SNE under a natural, deterministic condition on the “ground-truth” clusters (similar to conditions assumed in earlier analyses of clustering) in the underlying data. These are the first provable guarantees on t-SNE for constructing good data visualizations. We show that our deterministic condition is satisfied by considerably general probabilistic generative models for clusterable data such as mixtures of well-separated log-concave distributions. Finally, we give theoretical evidence that t-SNE provably succeeds in partially recovering cluster structure even when the above deterministic condition is not met.

Original language | American English |
---|---|

Pages (from-to) | 1455-1462 |

Number of pages | 8 |

Journal | Proceedings of Machine Learning Research |

Volume | 75 |

State | Published - 2018 |

Event | 31st Annual Conference on Learning Theory, COLT 2018 - Stockholm, Sweden Duration: Jul 6 2018 → Jul 9 2018 |

## ASJC Scopus subject areas

- Artificial Intelligence
- Software
- Control and Systems Engineering
- Statistics and Probability

## Keywords

- Clustering
- Visualization
- t-SNE