Estimating principal components of large covariance matrices using the Nyström method


Covariance matrix estimates are an essential part of many signal processing algorithms, and are often used to determine a low-dimensional principal subspace via their spectral decomposition. However, for sufficiently high-dimensional matrices exact eigen-analysis is computationally intractable, and in the case of limited data, sample eigenvalues and eigenvectors are known to be poor estimators of their true counterparts. To address these issues, we propose a covariance estimator that is computationally efficient while also performing shrinkage on the sample eigenvalues. Our approach is based on the Nyström method, which uses a data-dependent orthogonal projection to obtain a fast low-rank approximation of a large positive semidefinite matrix. We provide a theoretical analysis of the error properties of our estimator as well as empirical results.

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@article{Arcolano2011EstimatingPC, title={Estimating principal components of large covariance matrices using the Nyström method}, author={Nicholas Arcolano and Patrick J. Wolfe}, journal={2011 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing (ICASSP)}, year={2011}, pages={3784-3787} }