Nonparametric estimation of continuous DPPs with kernel methods

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 pre-proceedings (NeurIPS 2021)

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Authors

Michaël Fanuel, Rémi Bardenet

Abstract

Determinantal Point Process (DPPs) are statistical models for repulsive point patterns. Both sampling and inference are tractable for DPPs, a rare feature among models with negative dependence that explains their popularity in machine learning and spatial statistics. Parametric and nonparametric inference methods have been proposed in the finite case, i.e. when the point patterns live in a finite ground set. In the continuous case, only parametric methods have been investigated, while nonparametric maximum likelihood for DPPs -- an optimization problem over trace-class operators -- has remained an open question. In this paper, we show that a restricted version of this maximum likelihood (MLE) problem falls within the scope of a recent representer theorem for nonnegative functions in an RKHS. This leads to a finite-dimensional problem, with strong statistical ties to the original MLE. Moreover, we propose, analyze, and demonstrate a fixed point algorithm to solve this finite-dimensional problem. Finally, we also provide a controlled estimate of the correlation kernel of the DPP, thus providing more interpretability.