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Frequent directions algorithm for matrix sketching.
# (C) Mathieu Blondel, November 2013
# License: BSD 3 clause
import numpy as np
from scipy.linalg import svd
def frequent_directions(A, ell, verbose=False):
Return the sketch of matrix A.
A : array-like, shape = [n_samples, n_features]
Input matrix.
ell : int
Number of rows in the matrix sketch.
B : array-like, shape = [ell, n_features]
Edo Liberty, "Simple and Deterministic Matrix Sketching", ACM SIGKDD, 2013.
if ell % 2 == 1:
raise ValueError("ell must be an even number.")
n_samples, n_features = A.shape
if ell > n_samples:
raise ValueError("ell must be less than n_samples.")
if ell > n_features:
raise ValueError("ell must be less than n_features.")
B = np.zeros((ell, n_features), dtype=np.float64)
ind = np.arange(ell)
for i in xrange(n_samples):
zero_rows = ind[np.sum(np.abs(B) <= 1e-12, axis=1) == n_features]
if len(zero_rows) >= 1:
B[zero_rows[0]] = A[i]
U, sigma, V = svd(B, full_matrices=False)
delta = sigma[ell / 2 - 1] ** 2
sigma = np.sqrt(np.maximum(sigma ** 2 - delta, 0))
B =, V)
if verbose:
AA =, A)
BB =, B)
error = np.sum((AA - BB) ** 2)
if i == 0:
error_first = error
print error / error_first
return B
if __name__ == '__main__':
A = np.random.random((100, 20))
B = frequent_directions(A, 10, verbose=True)
print B.shape

Beautiful. License?

zygmuntz commented Nov 5, 2013

Interesting. Isn't the paper about an online ("streaming") algorithm, however?

mblondel commented Nov 6, 2013

@samueljohn Added a license header, thanks!

@zygmuntz Indeed. I guess A could be an iterator instead of a NumPy array.

ogrisel commented Nov 13, 2013

@mblondel out of curiosity have you been to leverage such sketching successfully to speed up some machine learning related task?


@ogrisel Nope. My main motivation for implementing sketching was to visualize what kind of points does it learn. In particular, I was hoping that it would learn "representative" points. However this method is based on SVD so the number of points selected can only be less than min(n_samples, n_features). For 2d data, this means that it can choose at most 2 points...

Another remark is that it approximates the covariance matrix A^T A so it most suited for speeding up algorithms that rely on the covariance matrix, such as PCA.

Overall, I am not so convinced that this is a useful method in practice.

ogrisel commented Nov 21, 2013

Alright thanks.


This is amazing.

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