Fast and exact search for the partition with minimal information loss.

08:00 EDT 11th September 2018 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Fast and exact search for the partition with minimal information loss."

In analysis of multi-component complex systems, such as neural systems, identifying groups of units that share similar functionality will aid understanding of the underlying structures of the system. To find such a grouping, it is useful to evaluate to what extent the units of the system are separable. Separability or inseparability can be evaluated by quantifying how much information would be lost if the system were partitioned into subsystems, and the interactions between the subsystems were hypothetically removed. A system of two independent subsystems are completely separable without any loss of information while a system of strongly interacted subsystems cannot be separated without a large loss of information. Among all the possible partitions of a system, the partition that minimizes the loss of information, called the Minimum Information Partition (MIP), can be considered as the optimal partition for characterizing the underlying structures of the system. Although the MIP would reveal novel characteristics of the neural system, an exhaustive search for the MIP is numerically intractable due to the combinatorial explosion of possible partitions. Here, we propose a computationally efficient search to precisely identify the MIP among all possible partitions by exploiting the submodularity of the measure of information loss, when the measure of information loss is submodular. Submodularity is a mathematical property of set functions which is analogous to convexity in continuous functions. Mutual information is one such submodular information loss function, and is a natural choice for measuring the degree of statistical dependence between paired sets of random variables. By using mutual information as a loss function, we show that the search for MIP can be performed in a practical order of computational time for a reasonably large system (N = 100 ∼ 1000). We also demonstrate that MIP search allows for the detection of underlying global structures in a network of nonlinear oscillators.


Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: PloS one
ISSN: 1932-6203
Pages: e0201126


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