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McMaster University

1. Tang, Yang. Dimensionality Reduction with Non-Gaussian Mixtures.

Degree: PhD, 2017, McMaster University

Broadly speaking, cluster analysis is the organization of a data set into meaningful groups and mixture model-based clustering is recently receiving a wide interest in statistics. Historically, the Gaussian mixture model has dominated the model-based clustering literature. When model-based clustering is performed on a large number of observed variables, it is well known that Gaussian mixture models can represent an over-parameterized solution. To this end, this thesis focuses on the development of novel non-Gaussian mixture models for high-dimensional continuous and categorical data. We developed a mixture of joint generalized hyperbolic models (JGHM), which exhibits different marginal amounts of tail-weight. Moreover, it takes into account the cluster specific subspace and, therefore, limits the number of parameters to estimate. This is a novel approach, which is applicable to high, and potentially very- high, dimensional spaces and with arbitrary correlation between dimensions. Three different mixture models are developed using forms of the mixture of latent trait models to realize model-based clustering of high-dimensional binary data. A family of mixture of latent trait models with common slope parameters are developed to reduce the number of parameters to be estimated. This approach facilitates a low-dimensional visual representation of the clusters. We further developed the penalized latent trait models to facilitate ultra high dimensional binary data which performs automatic variable selection as well. For all models and families of models developed in this thesis, the algorithms used for model-fitting and parameter estimation are presented. Real and simulated data sets are used to assess the clustering ability of the models.


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Advisors/Committee Members: McNicholas, Paul, Mathematics and Statistics.

Subjects/Keywords: clustering; non-Gaussian; latent variables; mixture Models; categorical data; variational method

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APA (6th Edition):

Tang, Y. (2017). Dimensionality Reduction with Non-Gaussian Mixtures. (Doctoral Dissertation). McMaster University. Retrieved from

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Tang, Yang. “Dimensionality Reduction with Non-Gaussian Mixtures.” 2017. Doctoral Dissertation, McMaster University. Accessed August 16, 2018.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Tang, Yang. “Dimensionality Reduction with Non-Gaussian Mixtures.” 2017. Web. 16 Aug 2018.


Tang Y. Dimensionality Reduction with Non-Gaussian Mixtures. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. McMaster University; 2017. [cited 2018 Aug 16]. Available from:

Council of Science Editors:

Tang Y. Dimensionality Reduction with Non-Gaussian Mixtures. [Doctoral Dissertation]. McMaster University; 2017. Available from: