Intelligent Information Ma nagement, 2011, 3, 87-103
doi:10.4236/iim.2011.33011 Published Online May 2011 (
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. IIM
Supervised Fuzzy Mixture of Local Feature Models
Mingyang Xu, Michael Golay
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA
Received January 17, 2011; revised April 7, 2011; accepted April 10, 2011
This paper addresses an important issue in model combination, that is, model locality. Since usually a global
linear model is unable to reflect nonlinearity and to characterize local features, especially in a complex sys-
tem, we propose a mixture of local feature models to overcome these weaknesses. The basic idea is to split
the entire input space into operating domains, and a recently developed feature-based model combination
method is applied to build local models for each region. To realize this idea, three steps are required, which
include clustering, local modeling and model combination, governed by a single objective function. An
adaptive fuzzy parametric clustering algorithm is proposed to divide the whole input space into operating
regimes, local feature models are created in each individual region by applying a recently developed fea-
ture-based model combination method, and finally they are combined into a single mixture model. Corre-
spondingly, a three-stage procedure is designed to optimize the complete objective function, which is actu-
ally a hybrid Genetic Algorithm (GA). Our simulation results show that the adaptive fuzzy mixture of local
feature models turns out to be superior to global models.
Keywords: Adaptive Fuzzy Mixture, Supervised Clustering, Local Feature Model, PCA, ICA, Phase
Transition, Fuzzy Parametric Clustering, Real-Coded Genetic Algorithm
1. Introduction
Models are useful in both explaining systems and pre-
dicting their future behavior. Usually, for a specific sys-
tem there are many different competing models. In this
situation, the question arises of how to improve model
performance given all available information. One strat-
egy is to select a single best model among the group of
competing models. An alternative is to combine multiple
competing models. In both theoretical and empirical
work, it has been shown that model combination can lead
to better models than does selecting a single model.
However, how to aggregate information contained in
candidate models and new observations in an efficient
way is still an open research problem. To this end, Xu
and Golay [1] proposed a feature-based model combina-
tion method, which, compared to other methods men-
tioned above, makes more efficient use of information
embedded in candidate models and extra data.
In this feature-based model combination approach, it
is assumed the true model can be expressed as
 
where fi(x) F, the factor set, and wi(x) is its corre-
sponding weight, intensity, or factor loading as in factor
analysis [2], N is the number of total factors, x is an input
variable. In a linear case, wi(x) is constant, independent
of x. Correspondingly, a candidate model, as an ap-
proximate representation of the system, can be expressed
in a similar way, for example, the kth candidate model
where fki(x) Fk with Fk the set of factors for kth model
and Nk is the number of factors in Fk. Note that Fk is a
subset of feature space F.
Assuming the features fi(x), , are either
uncorrelated or independent conditional on input x, [1]
proposes to apply either Principal Component Analysis
(PCA) [3] or Independent Component Analysis (ICA) [4]
to extract the features and then aggregates them through
regression into a new optimal composite model based on
1, ,iN
where Sc denotes the set of selected factors, and the fac-
tor weights and constant
can be determined based upon
x (1)
88 M. Y. XU ET AL.
However, there are some weaknesses inherent in this
approach that limit its application. Among them two
major issues are the model locality and nonlinearity. As
shown later it can be unjustified to use a single global
linear model to describe a complex system over its entire
domain. In fact, this limitation is inherent in the applica-
tion of the global linear PCA or ICA for feature extrac-
tion, whose weaknesses have been investigated by Ka-
runen and Malaroiu [5] and other authors.
In order to mitigate these limitations, we propose a
mixture model of local feature models. Basically, local
models are built to approximate the complex system
within operating regimes and then are combined by
smooth interpolation into a complete global model. The
split of the input space enable us to characterize the
nonlinearity of the system although somewhat coarsely,
and local component analysis produces different sets of
local features, which lead to different local models.
The outline of this paper is as follows: in section 2, the
idea of mixture of local models is proposed and justified
in terms of different arguments; an adaptive fuzzy para-
metric clustering algorithm is presented in order to split
the entire input space into sub-domains; and then local
PCA or ICA is used to extract local features, which con-
stitute local models; finally, a method is proposed to
piece local models together into a mixture model. In sec-
tion 3, a three-stage optimization algorithm is used to
implement the procedure. Both an artificial example and
a physical case are presented in section 4 to demonstrate
the performance of this new approach. The last section
summarizes the paper.
2. Mixture of Local Models
In this section, we introduce a mixture of local models in
order to characterize model nonlinearity and locality.
Local models are built to approximate the complex sys-
tem locally and then are combined by smooth interpola-
tion into a complete global model. In order to describe
model locality, we introduce the concept of phase transi-
2.1. Why Local Models
In general, it is usually preferred to build a single global
model to describe a system’s behavior over its entire
input space. However, in reality a model might not be
able to cover the full range of the input space accurately
due to high complexity. This can happen because of the
need to describe the interactions between a large number
of phenomena that appear within the domain. Rather a
well-defined model may only be appropriate over a spe-
cific prescribed subspace, namely its operating regime.
For example, a model, which is fitted quite well to the
data in a specific region, may be inaccurate when ex-
trapolated to other regions, for example, because some
assumption underlying a model can only be met in a cer-
tain range of inputs. Typically for a complicated system
the true model is nonlinear and highly complex and a
global linear model is far from adequate.
It is also conceivable that a physical system may un-
dergo different phase changes that are governed by dif-
ferent underlying laws. This phenomenon is regarded as
phase transition. Meanwhile, the set of important features
of the system can vary over different domains or the
same set of features but with varying influences. Both
cases result in varied local behavior patterns. Corre-
spondingly, this situation can lead to variation of model
structures, that is, different models over different regions.
Thus, in the presence of phase transition, it can be diffi-
cult to incorporate the properties of distinct phases into a
single global model.
Therefore, a single global linear model sometimes
cannot describe a nonlinear system adequately or capture
all the local features accurately. In order to deal with this
nonlinearity and locality, it might be possible to identify
missing hidden variables needed to characterize nonlin-
earity or phase transition phenomena and create a com-
prehensive complex global model. Such variables are
called Arrhenius-type terms by Johansen and Foss [6].
However, it is usually difficult to find such extra hidden
variables, not only because it requires greater knowledge
concerning the system under investigation, but also be-
cause even if we do so, we may obtain an overly com-
plicated global model or even an intractable one. Fol-
lowing the philosophy of divide-and-conquer, an alterna-
tive simpler way to capture the locality is to divide the
whole input space into several small regions and to per-
form local analysis in each local region, for example,
classification and regression tree (CART) and use of a
hierarchical mixture of experts (HME). Local analysis
leads to simple local models, which try to characterize a
complicated physical system over a specific regime
called an operating regime. Then local models are com-
bined into a global composite model. In contrast to a
global model that is valid over the full range of the input
space, a local model is valid only in a predefined operat-
ing region smaller than the input space. Typically, local
models can be considerably simpler because a smaller
number of phenomena are relevant and their interactions
are simpler [6]. Therefore, this divide-and-conquer prin-
ciple simplifies the modeling problem by transforming
the task of modeling a complex system into one of sim-
pler modeling local results can be combined relatively
easily to yield a satisfactory overall model.
Typically, in local learning models are constructed as
linear functions of local features. Then, they are pieced
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. IIM
together somehow to form a global linear mixture model
[7]. Although simpler, this mixture model improves the
model accuracy because it reduces model bias by speci-
fying the model more properly. By examining the bias/
variance tradeoff for local and global learning, Murray-
Smith and Johansen [8] show that local learning can be
viewed as a simple form of regularization, which pro-
duces models with higher accuracy and greater robust-
ness than do global learning methods.
However, as noted by Jordan and Jacobs [9], divide-
and-conquer tends to increase the model variance. A
remedy to it is to employ a soft split of the input space. A
simple version of soft partition is to overlap the operating
regimes of the local models. Doing this help smooth the
switching between local models and thereby can reduce
variance. This will be discussed in more details as we
It is noteworthy that local models here are different
from those used in local modeling [10] where a paramet-
ric function is fitted to data in the neighborhood around a
query point x. This can be done by locally weighted re-
gression [11] where the weights in Weighted Least
Squares (WLS) depend upon the distance from a data
point to the query point x, or by mixtures of local experts
[12] where local experts are fitted to all data but not
equally well in some local regions. A common drawback
of these local learning methods is the complete lack of
interpretability of the resultant models.
2.1.1. Phase T ra nsi tion
Usually, local models are combined into a global model
by smooth superposition. The main motivation for this is
that the system often has some smoothness properties
between regions, i.e. with the operating point changing
the phenomena or behavior changes smoothly. However,
one may occasionally come across processes that change
abruptly. For example, in fluid dynamics a phase transi-
tion or flow pattern changes can occur [13]. Below a
mixture-of-phases model is introduced to characterize a
phase transition. This leads to use of a mixture of over-
lapping local models.
In general, phase transition means a system undergoes
a discontinuous change in association with continuously
changing parameters, transforming from one phase to
another. For example, a liquid flow changes from lami-
nar flow to turbulent flow as the Ronald number in-
creases. In the current case, by phase transition we mean
a system undergoes a qualitative change in its underlying
local features, thereby leading to the need for different
local models.
According to the modern classification scheme, phase
transitions fall into two broad categories, namely the first
and second-order phase transitions. Under this scheme,
phase transitions were labeled by the lowest derivatives
of the free energy that is discontinuous at the transition.
First-order transitions exhibit a discontinuity in the first
derivative of the free energy, or the value of the response
variable. In contrast, second-order transitions are con-
tinuous in the value of the response variable but not in
the second derivative of the free energy.
In this scheme, first-order transitions are associated
with “mixed-phase regimes”, where some parts of the
system have completed the transition and others have not.
A typical example of this class of transitions is water
boiling where with the temperature increasing the water
does not instantly turn into a gas but forms a turbulent
mixture of water and water vapor. Mixed-phase systems
are unstable and difficult to study, because their
dynamics are violent and hard to control. However,
many important phase transitions fall in this category,
including the solid/liquid/gas transitions.
On parallel with soft partition, in the present case we
can adopt soft phase boundaries, where multiple phases
coexist. This is consistent with overlapping operating
regime concept mentioned earlier. In the coexistence
region, the system can be considered to be a random
mixture of multiple phases governed by different local
models. This stochastic mixture model of phase
transitions helps explain instability within the transitional
regime, because inside this coexistence region the system
behaves like one of the distinct phases with specific
probabilities and where distinct phases are quite different
in behavior. Therefore, the expected behavior of the
system is simply a probability-weigthed average of those
of distinct phases. At the sametime, outside the coexitence
regime the system is dominated by a single phase. Thus a
local model can be applied deterministically. This
statistical mixture model of phase transition is not short
of physical evidence. For example, Harrington et al. [14]
reported in liquid-liquid phase transition, the coexistence
of two different phases inside an unstable region.
In addition, generally we have no idea in advance
where and how wide the transitonal regions. Thus their
domains have to be estiamted based upon data. Con-
veniently, each transitional region can be represented by
two parameters, the outset and the end-point of a phase
transition region. In fact, this parametric model is able to
characterize both categories of phase transitions, namely
first-order or second-order transition. If the width of the
coexistence regime turns out to be nil, it is a first-order
phase transition; otherwise, it is a second-order phase
Based upon the above argument, the framework of
mixture of local models is able to model the phase transi-
tion phenomena via dynamic identification of operating
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. IIM
90 M. Y. XU ET AL.
2.2. Adaptive Fuzzy Parametric Clustering
In our local model scheme, the input space is split into
partitions, which overlap, reflecting the effect of a coex-
istence region. Each partition corresponds to a distinct
operating regime, in which the system can be described
by a local model. In implementing this scheme, the first
and a key problem is that of how to split the input space.
This is actually a problem of clustering. For this purpose,
we propose a supervised clustering algorithm.
Clustering can be considered the most important un-
supervised learning problem, which is intended to or-
ganized objects into groups whose members are similar
in some way. Clustering involves the task of dividing
data points into homogeneous classes or clusters so that
items in the same class are as similar as possible and
items in different classes are as dissimilar as possible.
Thus, the goal of clustering is to find common patterns or
The measure of similarity plays an essential role in
clustering algorithms. Usually, distance is employed as
the similarity criterion. However, this seems inappropri-
ate for the current situation. In our scheme, if two points
in the input space belong to the same phase, they are
thought of behaving similarly and hence as being in the
same cluster. From the perspective of local features,
points in the same cluster have the same underlying local
features. Furthermore, since currently local features are
extracted from candidate models through either PCA or
ICA, similarity in local features is equivalent to similar-
ity in the separating matrix [15]. Therefore, it is more
reasonable to cluster data based on the similarity of the
mixing matrix W, which is equal to the inverse of the
separating matrix. Because of the similarity of points in
the same cluster, it is reasonable to treat any cluster in-
dependent in the course of feature analysis and building
local models.
In trying to meet different needs, many clustering al-
gorithms have been proposed. They can be roughly
grouped into two classes, namely hard clustering and soft
Hard clustering assumes exclusive assignment of each
datum to respective clusters, which means that a specific
datum belonging to a definite cluster cannot be included
in another cluster simultaneously. So, hard clustering
results in crisp clusters, where each data point belongs to
exactly one cluster. An example of this class is the
K-means clustering algorithm. Its application is mainly
in pure local piecewise models such as CART [16].
On the contrary the soft clustering, also called over-
lapping clustering, allows each point to belong to two or
more clusters simultaneously. Using the two existing
uncertain reasoning techniques, fuzzy set theory and
probability theory, this class of clustering algorithms can
be further divided into fuzzy clustering and probabilistic
clustering. In fuzzy clustering, fuzzy clusters are identi-
fied and the data points can belong to more than one
cluster associated with membership grades, which indi-
cate the degree to which the data points belong to the
different clusters. The fuzzy c-means algorithm is one of
the most widely used fuzzy clustering algorithms, which
is developed by Dunn [17] and improved by Bezdek
Similar to the fuzzy clustering, in probabilistic clus-
tering each data point has specific probability of belong-
ing to a particular cluster. Use of probabilistic reasoning
is implied by availability of only a restricted amount of
evidence. A well used probabilistic clustering algorithm
is the mixture of Gaussians, where the well-known Ex-
pectation-Maximization algorithm is applied to estimate
As pointed out in [9], the divide-and-conquer techni-
que tends to increase the variance. A simple remedy to
this problem is to apply soft partition. This can be done
in the current case; and thus, we favor soft clustering.
Another fact making soft clustering appealing is that
many systems change behaviors smoothly as a function
of inputs and soft transition between regimes introduced
by the fuzzy set representation characterizes this feature
in an elegant fashion. However, both fuzzy clustering
and probabilistic clustering cannot be applied directly,
because fundamentally they measure the similarity based
on distance and are separated from the modeling process,
which is inappropriate in our case. Meanwhile, in com-
parison to probabilistic algorithms, fuzzy clustering is
more natural and flexible in the current case. Conse-
quently, we propose a new adaptive fuzzy clustering al-
gorithm below to identify different phases over the entire
input space. The characteristics of the new fuzzy clus-
tering algorithm are described in detail in the following
1) Fuzzy clustering
A natural way to interpret overlapping operating re-
gimes is to apply fuzzy set theory, where an operating
point can fall into two or more operating regime simul-
taneously. According to our scheme, in the overlapping
regions multiple local models might be relevant while
outside the coexistence regions only one local model,
called the dominant local model, is valid. The simple
trapezoidal fuzzy membership function is specifically
suitable for characterizing such operating regimes. Fur-
thermore, the choice of a trapezoidal shape membership
function produces more interpretable local models than
other functions like Gaussians [15].
In order to be consistent with the concept of mixture
modeling and superposition, a constraint on the fuzzy
membership functions is imposed, which requires that at
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. IIM
any point x, , where
m(x) is member-
ship degree of the mt h cluster. This results in smooth
transition between operating regimes.
Clusters or operating regimes are represented by fuzzy
sets. Typical fuzzy clustering with three overlapping
operating regimes is depicted in Figure 1, where [a,b]
represents the overlapping region between the cluster I
and II and likewise [c, d] represents the overlapping re-
gion between the cluster II and III. Any point in the input
space can belong to multiple clusters with simulta- neous
memberships. From another practical angle, the mem-
bership can be interpreted as describing how possi- ble
an observation can be generated by a specific local
This type of member functions is consistent with the
nature of phase transition and able to model both classes
of phase transition. It also keeps the interpretability of
each local model corresponding to one cluster. Thus, we
can argue that this type of member function is a natural
choice for physical models.
2) Supervised clustering
In our fuzzy clustering scheme, the fuzzy membership
functions are parameterized by the number of clusters
used and the locations of the splitting points.
As usual, the main task of fuzzy clustering is to iden-
tify fuzzy sets characterized by parametric fuzzy mem-
bership functions. For each cluster, the parameters in-
clude the location of boundaries and their widths. The
locations of the boundaries can be chosen such that the
similarity within a cluster is maximized, while the pat-
terns of different clusters should be as dissimilar as pos-
sible. Only so, in each cluster can the system be better
represented by a local model and the bias decreased.
The overlap or the width of coexistence region plays a
major role in smoothing the transition between local
models. [8] further argues that overlap has a regularizing
effect in the ill conditioning in a learning problem and
the level of overlap determines the amount of regularize-
tion. A high level of overlap leads to a high level of cor-
relation between neighboring local models and decreased
transparency of the local models, i.e. compatibility with
the understanding of a system [6]. A low level of overlap
results in an abrupt transition between local models.
Hence, the optimal degree of overlap and softness de-
pends upon the modeling problem through the objective
This algorithm is called adaptive in the sense that in
addition to the separators the number of regions is de-
termined based upon the data. If the number of clusters is
not large enough, the nonlinearity of the system cannot
be described adequately. On the other hand, an increase-
ing number of operating regimes increase the model
complexity. The overall effect of an increasing number
of local models depends upon whether the decrease in
bias is more significant than the increase in variance.
Thus, the number, location and overlap of the operat-
ing regimes should be so tuned dynamically as to reach
optimal values. These are determined by objective func-
tions. In so doing, it can be ensured that there are ade-
quate amount of data within each operating regime to get
a good local model.
3) Single global objective function
The goal of modeling processes is to minimize the
predictive error. Likewise, local modeling also aims to
minimize the generalization error across the entire input
space. Both the splitting of the input space and the
building of local models should be determined by this
overall goal. Nevertheless, in most previous work such
as local PCA [19] or local ICA [20], and use of local
models [7], clustering is treated as a separate optimiza-
tion problem from local learning and obtaining a global
mixture. This causes sub-optimality. In this paper, we
optimize both problems jointly by incorporating them
within a single objective function, which reflects the
overall goal of minimizing the global generalization error.
This goal can be realized by two steps, namely estima-
tion of clustering parameters given the number of clus-
ters and estimation of the number of clusters. The first
step can be done by minimizing the empirical error.
Until now, we have not discussed how to create local
models and the global mixture model. Suppose the global
mixture model to be fg(x,
), where
denotes the
clustering parameters,
refers to other local model pa-
rameters and x is the model input. Therefore, the partial
objective can be expressed as
arg min,,
where (xi, yi) denotes a pair of observations. Note that the
squared loss is applied, which is equivalent to use of
MLE method under the assumption of a normal distribu-
tion of the data.
From the partial objective function in Equation (1), it
is seen that the input space is so split as to minimize the
empirical error. In this sense, this clustering algorithm is
Region I Region II Region III
a b c d
Figure 1. Illustration of the fuzzy clustering concept.
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. IIM
92 M. Y. XU ET AL.
Therefore, through a same objective function fuzzy
clustering is closely connected to the modeling process.
This is exactly in agreement with [6] that the creation of
local models should not be separated from the choice of
operating regimes. In this aspect, it is also in spirit simi-
lar to Mixture of Experts (MoE), where probabilistic
clustering is mixed with learning.
Nevertheless, the partial objective function in Equa-
tion (1) does not involve the number of clusters, which is
in fact another important part of our fuzzy clustering.
This is because a different number of operating regimes
lead to varied model structures, which cannot be re-
flected in the empirical error. Following the principle of
parsimony in model selection, we use a complete object-
tive function, which incorporates the effect of the num-
ber of clusters.
The divide-and-conquer principle reduces the model
bias by specifying the model structure more properly, but
the variance is increased at the same time, because with
an increasing number of local models (increasing model
structure) more parameters need to be estimated. This
leads to larger variance on the parameter estimate. This
phenomenon is well known in the literature of statistics
as bias/variance tradeoff (see e.g. [21]). On one hand, if
the input space is split into too many regions, overfitting
will occur; on the other hand, use of too few regions may
not capture the structure in enough detail and thus could
lead to underfitting. The task here is to find out the opti-
mal balance point within the bias/variance tradeoff given
a finite number of samples. To this end, generally two
different strategies can be employed, namely model se-
lection or regularization. In the current case, our purpose
is to choose the optimal number of operating regimes,
and thus model selection appears more appropriate.
With an increasing number of operating regimes local
models can fit the data much better, but the model com-
plexity is also increased, which usually leads to deterio-
rating generalization. Generally, the higher the model
complexity is, the smaller the bias but the larger the
variance. Most model selection criteria realize Occam’s
razor by penalizing the goodness-of-fit with increasing
model complexity, thereby minimizing the generalization
error. Among all model selection methods, the informa-
tion theoretical criteria like Akaike’s Information Crite-
rion (AIC) [22] or Bayesian Information Criterion (BIC)
[23] have a close connection to the maximum likelihood
method, which seems to many statisticians an advantage.
As a result, these information criteria can be easily ap-
plied in many circumstances without any additional
computation. In addition, some of these information cri-
teria including AIC and BIC can be justified under a
Bayesian framework, which is also viewed by many
statisticians as another big advantage (see [22] and [23]).
Therefore, in this paper we will only utilize the BIC for
the purposes of demonstration.
BIC was first derived by Schwarz in a Bayesian con-
text with a uniform prior probability on each competing
model and priors with everywhere positive densities on
the model parameters
in each model. Choosing the
model dimensionality with the highest posterior prob-
ability leads to the BIC criterion of Schwarz [23],
BIC2 loglogLxk n
 , (5)
is likelihood function of data x at
maximum likelihood estimate ˆ
, k is the number of
parameters or model dimension, and n is the sample size.
Note that the first term on the RHS comes directly from
the general maximum likelihood and the second term is a
complexity penalty term.
Assuming that the errors in data are Gaussian and ho-
mogeneous over the operating regimes, we can obtain the
BIC formula as
BIClog 2πlog1log ,nnRSS k 
where RSS is the sum of empirical squared error, i.e.
RSSyf x
In the current situation, where any data point can fall
into more than one clusters simultaneously and Gaussian
errors are heterogeneous over operating regimes, similar
to the Mixture of Gaussian (cf. [9]) the likelihood func-
tion can be written as
LyxL y x
 (7)
where M denotes the number of clusters or operating
ji refers to the membership of jth data point to
ith cluster, and Li(,|
) denotes the likelihood function
for the local model of ith cluster. Thus, the log likelihood
log ,
jiij j
lyx Lyx
 (8)
where parameters
, including
, are estimated by
Assuming that the local models are linear, i.e.
and the errors are Gaussian, i.e.
j ii
ij i
the log likelihood for a local model can be expressed as
log ,
log 2πlog ,
jiij j
jiji j
jiji i
 
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. IIM
and therefore
ˆarg min
and the variance for the ith local model can be estimated
jiji j
where the weighted RSS is obtained as
Substituting the likelihood function to the BIC formula
11 1
BIClog 2πlog 1
log ,
Mn n
jiji i
ij j
kM n
 
 
Finally, we obtain the complete objective function as
arg minlog2πlog 1
log ,
kM n
where M refers to the number of operating regimes and
the model dimensionality k(M) is a function of it.
Usually, the penalty term is equal to the number of
free parameters that need to be estimated based upon the
data. In the current case model parameters include clus-
tering parameters and local model parameters. Therefore,
the model complexity can be evaluated by
 
kM Mp
where the first term refers to the number of clustering
parameters specifying the boundary positions and the pi
denotes the model dimensionality of each local model.
However, with different number of operating regimes,
the complexity of the local models does not change in
terms of model structure and the number of parameters.
Therefore, for the purpose of choosing the number of
clusters the appropriate model complexity can be ex-
pressed as
 
2kM M
Note from the above that the purpose of model selec-
tion is only to determine the optimal number of operating
regimes, because the penalty term only depends upon the
number of free parameters rather than upon their values.
By the complete objective function, not only does this
- algorithm determine the regime location, size and
overlap, but it also determines the number of regimes.
The number of clusters depends upon the sample size. Its
upper bound should be such that in each cluster the
number of data points having non-zero membership
should be greater than the number of features. Note that
such an objective function favors parsimonious models
rather than under or over-parameterized model structures
obtained by optimizing the number of local models.
2.3. Local Analysis
Similar to the global feature-based model combination in
[1], local analysis include two steps, namely, extracting
local features through local component analysis and cre-
ate local models by aggregation.
2.3.1. Local Component Analysis
ICA is a successful technique for reducing statistical
dependence, and hence redundancy, between the candi-
date models. Dimension reduction is also achieved by
eliminating a subset of independent components without
significant loss of information.
PCA [3,25] is another effective dimension reduction
technique, which only relies on second order statistics
and helps remove linear dependencies. As a result, the
principal components, although uncorrelated, can be
highly statistically dependent. In contrast, ICA takes into
account higher order statistics and thus is able to capture
non-linear dependency. Therefore, ICA can produce a
more compact representation of the data and outperforms
PCA in terms of statistical redundancy as well as dimen-
sion reduction. However, PCA is much easier to use than
ICA and in some cases where no significant nonlinear
dependencies are involved, PCA can produce satisfactory
results. Thus, although in the following we will mainly
focus on local ICA, the arguments are also directly ap-
plicable to local PCA.
Standard ICA still has some limitations, namely its
linearity and globality.
First, the standard ICA assume that the data x are a
linear superposition of independent components s, i.e.
t (16)
 
txt xt
and W is the mixing matrix.
 
1,, ,
tst st
However, it is not general to assume this linearity,
even though in many cases linear ICA delivers useful
results. For general nonlinear data structures, it can pro-
vide only a crude approximation and cannot describe
nonlinear characteristics adequately. In view of this
drawback, during the recent years researchers have at-
tempted to generalize linear ICA to nonlinear ICA, as
can be an arbitrary nonlinear
mixing function.
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. IIM
94 M. Y. XU ET AL.
Second, the standard ICA tries to describe all of the
data using a single group of independent component
called global features. This means that the mixing matrix,
W, in Equation (16) and the corresponding separating
matrix are assumed to be the same over the entire region.
However, usually physical systems have varying charac-
teristics; and thus, varying mixing matrices in qualita-
tively different domains of the entire domain. This calls
for using different local features in each domain in order
to obtain an efficient representation.
In order to overcome the limitation of global linearity,
recently researchers have proposed nonlinear ICA as in
Equation (14). However, the difficulty of nonlinear ICA
arises because the solution of nonlinear ICA problem is
usually highly non-unique (see e.g. [25]) and is computa-
tionally rather demanding [20]. In order to develop non-
linear extensions of ICA, we propose to use a local linear
ICA, in which the data space is first partitioned into dis-
joint regions and then ICA is performed within each
Local linear ICA can provide an approximation of
nonlinear ICA because using the Taylor expansion the
nonlinear mixing function f() in Equation (14) can be
approximated locally at any point by linear functions. By
choosing the number of regions adaptively, the nonlinear
characteristic can be represented accurately given limited
observations. At the same time, linear ICA is utilized to
extract local features within each more homogeneous
domain. Thus, multiple sets of local features rather than
global features are produced.
Therefore, local ICA can overcome some weaknesses
of linear ICA while avoiding the problems associated
with general nonlinear ICA. Local ICA usually works in
conjunction with a suitable clustering algorithm, which is
responsible for partitioning the data space into clusters.
For example,[20] proposed to use k-means clustering
algorithm, and [15] suggested using fuzzy c-varieties
clustering [18], which partitions the data space based on
the similarity of the mixing matrix.
In our case a different adaptive fuzzy clustering is
proposed (see section 2.2), which is embedded in local
modeling process rather than standalone. Given cluster-
ing, PCA or the Fast ICA algorithm [4] is applied in each
cluster to extract local features. It seems more appropri-
ate to employ weighted ICA based upon fuzzy member-
ships, because even intuitively the points having smaller
fuzzy memberships, in the coexistence region for exam-
ple, should have smaller influence upon feature extrac-
tion. However, since the coexistence regions are not so
wide, for simplicity we apply the standard algorithms in
each cluster.
2.3.2. Build Local Models
Once local features are extracted, we can proceed to con-
struct local models, each pertaining to one of the over-
lapping operating regimes of the input space. Since each
local model is only relevant to one cluster, it is reason-
able to train local models using data points belonging to
that cluster. Thus, before building local models, all ob-
servations need to be first assigned to their respective
fuzzy clusters. This constitutes a fuzzy multi-category
classification problem. Because the membership func-
j(x) of all fuzzy clusters are known from the step
of clustering, the classification task is simply to evaluate
the membership of each data point in all clusters, that is,
to obtain the result
ijj i
which specifies the influence of each data point in build-
ing local models pertaining to the different operating
The creation of local composite models follows the
same method as in [1]. They are built by multiple linear
regression models,
 
fx hx
where hmj(x)’s refer to local features in the m-th fuzzy
operating regime.
Taking into account the varied influence of the data
points, the parameters in local models can be estimated
by weighted least squares as
arg min,
which further encourages the locality of local models.
Local feature selection is an integral part of building
local models. The purpose of feature selection is to
eliminate non-informative features and noise and remove
redundant information, thereby reducing model dimen-
sionality. Since the multiple linear regression method is
used in constructing local linear models, feature selection
is actually a variable selection problem. Feature selection
results in parsimonious models, which are known to
yield improved generalization.
From the above, it is easy to see that the act of build-
ing of each of the local models is separated from that of
the others, except for the effects of overlapping domains.
Thus, local feature selection can be also performed sepa-
rately in each operating regime. As a result, the local
feature selection only depends upon the empirical errors
of each of the observations falling into a certain cluster.
2.4. Combine Local Feature Models
Once local models are built for all clusters, they can be
combined into a global mixture model, or so-called oper-
ating based model according to [26], based upon our
phase transition model.
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. IIM
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. IIM
Based upon the fuzzy membership functions, the final
global mixture model can easily be formulated as a fuzzy
weighted average model as
a b
Region II Region I
fx xfx
where the fuzzy membership function
m(x) characterizes
the operating regime of the m-th local model fm(x). Each
local ICA model can be expressed as
 
(a) Local models
where hmj(x) denotes j-th local featur for m-th cluster and
mj is its corresponding regression coefficient, and p de-
notes the number of features.
Region II Region I
a b
In the current case a simple trapezoidal membership
function is applied to represent the fuzzy operating re-
gimes and for any point x a constraint is imposed such
that , so the mixture of local models
turns out to be simple. If for given point x, which is out-
side the unstable phase transition regions, some
m(x) = 1,
the m-th local model fm(x) is dominant and thus fg(x) =
fm(x); otherwise, if x is inside a transition region two
different phases characterized by two different local
models coexist. Based upon our stochastic modeling of
phase transition, the mixture model fg(x) can be con-
structed by a weighted linear superposition of local mod-
els having nonzero membership as,
(b) Global mixture model
Figure 2. An example with two operating regimes with cor-
responding local and global models.
optimize the number of operating regimes, the locations
of boundaries as well as parameters in local models. This
is analogous to use of adaptive regression splines with
free knots (cf. [27,28]). Splines are piecewise polynomial
functions that are constrained to join smoothly at points
called knots. In particular, a free-knot spline is a spline
where the knot locations are considered parameters to be
estimated from the data. Freeing the knots greatly im-
proves the spline’s approximating power [29]. However,
it poses a very difficult problem, that is, estimating the
optimal number of knots and their locations, which is
similar to our problem.
 
x (23)
An example of two operating regimes is shown in
Figure 2.
From the above example, it can be seen that the global
mixture model is continuous. In fact, this is true as long
as the width of the coexistence region is not equal to zero,
because, for example,
 
 
112 21
gaa aaaa
  (24)
1(xa) = 1 and
2(xa) = 0.
Nevertheless, in general the first derivates are not con-
tinuous. This is because with trapezoid membership
functions we have the result
 
 
 
11 11
22 22
12 1
gaa aa a
aa a
aa a
fxxfx xfx
fx xfx
cf xfxf x
 
But, there are important differences between them.
First, our model is more flexible without smoothness
constraints, which, on the other hand, leads to use of
more free parameters. Second, in our model the regres-
sors nonlinearly depend upon the boundary locations
while for splines regressors are fixed as polynomials.
Therefore, we expected that the current optimization
problem is even more difficult than that of free-knot
 and
The difficulty lies in some undesirable characteristics
of the complete objective function in Equation (13). In
order to illustrate its properties, we can substitute fg (x,
) in Equation (21) and rewrite it as
3. Three-Stage Optimization Algorithm
For our problem under investigation, we need to jointly
 
11 1
argminminminlog,,() log.
nM p
im j
Mny xhxkM
 
 
 n
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. IIM
First, it is a complex nonlinear function of the bound-
ary locations, because the membership functions and the
local independent components depend nonlinearly upon
and they appear inside the square.
Second, it is non-differentiable partly because of the
non-differentiable membership function. Furthermore,
the explicit dependence of the local features, or equiva-
lently the separating matrices, on the fuzzy clustering
cannot be known. Because of this non-
differentiability, all gradient-based optimization algo-
rithms such as steepest descent, Newton-Raphson method
and conjugate gradients methods will fail. However,
some numerical searching algorithms are still applicable.
Finally, the objective function is not strictly convex or
concave but has many local optima. This can be seen by
applying the “lethargy” theorem introduced by Jupp [27].
Similar to free-knot splines [27], the existence of multi-
ple optima in the objective surface is related to the sym-
metry introduced by the exchangeability of the boundary
parameters. For example, in a simple case with two clus-
ters the objective surface is symmetric along any normal
to the line defined by two equal parameters. Conse-
quently, the derivative along the normal at the intersect-
tion to the equal-parameter line is equal to zero. This
property, called “lethargy” by [27], results in many sta-
tionary points and ridges along lines or planes in the pa-
rameter space where two or more parameters coincide.
This property results in the failure of all local optimi-
zation algorithms including gradient-based methods, line
search and hill climbing, because they easily fix upon
local optima, the locations of which depend upon the
different initialization.
In order to overcome this problem, global optimization
algorithms including simulated annealing and genetic
algorithms should be applied instead.
These are some interrelated reasons that make it so
difficult to locate the global optimum. Since there are
many local optima in the objective surface, use of good
starting parameter values is essential for finding the
global optimum. Unfortunately, this is usually difficult.
One possible way is to construct starting values based
upon data. First, we sort the inputs x and split the input
range to segments s1 through sn-1. Clearly, every parame-
i can be formulated within each one of the segments.
Then, the entire parameter space of the vector
will be
divided into (n-1)2M-2 pieces of subspaces. If we pick an
initial value for
within each subspace, we will eventu-
ally find a local optimum within that subspace. Compar-
ing all of these local optima will give us an approximate
global optimum. However, because we cannot make sure
there is only one local optimum within each subspace,
the globality of the best identified optimum is not guar-
anteed. Furthermore, this procedure is computationally
very expensive because there are O(nn/k) possible initial
values in total.
Originally developed by Holland [30], genetic algo-
rithm (GA) is a global stochastic search algorithm, which
is less susceptible to getting fixed upon local optima than
are gradient search methods. On the other hand they tend
to be computationally expensive. In practice, genetic
algorithms work very well on mixed (continuous and
discrete), combinatorial problems. For example, Pittman
[31] suggests using GAs to optimize the knot locations in
adaptive splines.
Here we propose a similar hybrid genetic algorithm,
which combines global optimization together with a local
search. It is different from that in [31] in that a distinct
genetic chromosomal representation and correspondingly
different genetic operators are defined. Furthermore, in
this scheme GAs are only used to identify good starting
values for the local search rather than the global opti-
mum. Doing this significantly reduces the required
computational time arising from the slow convergence of
On the whole, following a strategy of problem split-
ting, the optimization problem can be solved through
three stages.
First, we optimize the local model parameters given
fuzzy clusters. In order to encourage competition and
locality of local models, we can approximate the original
objective function with a slightly different one
ˆarg min,,
arg min,,.
im im
The only difference between the two objective func-
tions arises in the coexistence regions. For convenience,
let’s denote
, providing the result
 
,, ,,
,, ,,
im im
mi mi
Eyf x
Ef xEf x
fx fx
 
where the second term is usually small within the coex-
istence regions.
In fact, another advantage of this change is that it
makes the optimization problem much easier, because
the membership function is moved out of the square op-
erator. Moreover, with this change local models can be
built independently from each other (being consistent
with section 2.3.2)
At this stage the local model parameters
can be op-
timized as functions of
, which can be easily done by
WLS as described in section 2.3.
Second, we need to identify the best fuzzy clustering
given the number of clusters, by rewriting the sub-opti-
mization problem as
ˆarg min,,,
arg min,
where with
 
min 1 221 22maxMM
 .
Note that under the assumption of Gaussian errors the
fuzzy clustering parameters are actually quantified by the
Maximum Likelihood Estimator. Nevertheless, a well-
known problem with MLE is the danger of overfitting.
For a simple example, suppose we have two operating
regimes and the number of data points falling in the first
regime is equal to the number of candidate models and
all others fall in the other. In this case, the data can be
fitted perfectly in the first regime and a little better in the
other regime than in the single regime case. Therefore, as
a result the maximum likelihood is increased dramati-
cally, but the resultant model most likely becomes worse.
In order to overcome this pitfall, we apply the cross-
validation approach of using the testing likelihood in
place of maximum likelihood. Correspondingly, the sub-
optimization problem can be expressed as
ˆarg min,,,
arg min
tim tim ti
 
where the subscribe t denote the out-of-sample test.
The sub-objective function Ft(
) in Equation (28) has
all of the unpleasing properties mentioned earlier. In or-
der to address this challenge, we will propose using a
hybrid optimization algorithm combining GAs with
multi-dimensional hill climbing.
After performing both global and local optimization
procedure, a group of good candidate solutions are ob-
tained, from which the solution with the smallest Ft(
can be easily chosen as the optimal one.
The last stage is to choose the optimal number of local
models (a model selection problem). Since we require
that in each operating regime the number of data points
must be greater than the number of local features, there-
fore there exists an upper bound for the number of local
models, Mm, which is much smaller than the sample size
n. Thus, this optimization problem can be expressed as
arg minlog, ,
arg min
kM n
In order to determine the optimal number of clusters,
we repeat the first two stages of our procedure for M
ranging from 1 to Mm, and finally we choose the optimal
value that corresponds to the minimal model selection
criterion value in Equation (29). In practice, a forward
stepwise process can be utilized, which increases the
value of M from 1 and stops when the model selection
criterion value increases.
3.1. Real-Coded Genetic Algorithm (GA)
In order to apply an actual-coded genetic algorithm to
facilitate the search for a global optimum, we need to
design problem-specific fitness functions and operators.
The first crucial issue of using a GA is to define a
proper fitness function, which indicates the quality of a
candidate solution. Usually, GA works by maximizing
the fitness, but here we intend to minimize the objective
function or equivalently to maximize the likelihood.
Therefore, the fitness function can be constructed from
the objective function as
fitness Max,
where Ft(
) is the objective function in Equation (32),
Max j
stands for the maximum
in a
population and
fitness k
refers to the fitness of the
k-th individual chromosome.
The definition of fitness significantly influences the
convergence behavior. For example, in the early stage
few “super individuals” tend to dominate the selection
process leading to premature convergence, whereas later
when the population is less diverse, the simulation tends
to lose focus [32]. Therefore, in practice we would like
to apply a more general and flexible fitness function by
scaling and shifting, i.e., as
fitness Max
ba FF
where the scaling factors a and shifting factor b are so
adjusted adaptively during simulation avoid premature
convergence early and to encourage later convergence.
In our simulation, we choose b to be the minimum fitness
and a to be the reciprocal of the average fitness.
As for selection, we utilize the fitness-weighted rou-
lette wheel method, which is conceptually equivalent to
giving each individual a slice of a roulette wheel equal in
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. IIM
98 M. Y. XU ET AL.
area to the individual’s fitness. The wheel is spun and the
ball comes to rest on the wedge shaped slice, by which
means the corresponding individual is selected. There-
fore, the probability for a chromosome to be chosen is
proportional to its fitness. A pair of “parents” is selected
by spinning the wheel two times to reproduce a pair of
“children” via recombination and mutation.
Notably, the GA success is also sensitive to the nature
of the recombination and mutation operators. For exam-
ple, it is found that general, fixed, problem-independent
recombination operators often break partial solutions and
cause slow convergence. In order to avoid such problems,
we design problem-specific crossover and mutation op-
The recombination strategy that we applied is the
one-point arithmetic crossover. Let the parents be
PP P and
221 2
PP P, respectively.
Then, the two offspring are obtained as
1max 1
max 2
2max 2
max 1
where t is a random integer number among 1, 2, ···, L.
This crossover operator is so designed that it guaran-
tees that the resulting children are still ordered sequences
of real numbers within a valid range, and the number of
clusters is maintained. In fact, this treatment is especially
suitable for chromosomal representations of ordered se-
quences of real numbers.
The crossover rate (i.e. the probability that crossover
occurs) is generally around 0.5, and in this paper we set
it at 0.6.
The mutation operator is defined as an addition of a
normally distributed factor with mean value 0 (i.e.
) where Di is an original parameter and i
is the mutated one,
is a normally distributed random
number, i.e. N(0,
2), where the value of
2 is tunable.
plays a similar role of the step size in a line search. In
this study, we choose
maxmin ,
where n denotes the sample size.
[33] suggested that the optimal mutation rate, i.e. the
probability that mutation occurs for a single gene in a
chromosome, is approximately (S L1/2) –1, where S is the
population size and L is the length of the chromosome.
Here we follow this rule.
Since the current optimization problem is constrained
by the requirement xmin <
2 < ··· <
xmax, in addition to the selection, crossover and muta-
tion operators, we need another check operator in order
to create a new valid child chromosome.
A valid chromosome has to satisfy some constraint.
First, a chromosome must be an ordered sequence of real
numbers within the range [xmin, xmax ]. Also, the number
of data points falling into each cluster must be greater
than the number of local independent components.
If there is no crossover and mutation, a chromosome is
simply copied to the next generation.
The stopping rule for the current iterative case is rela-
tively simple, as our purpose is to search for promising
initial inputs for a local optimization algorithm. Thus,
when we observe that the convergence of GA becomes
very slow we stop it.
In summary, the main steps of the GA are the follow-
1) Build an initial population of S chromosomes ran-
domly selected within [xmin, xmax ];
2) Calculate the fitness of each chromosome;
3) Select chromosomes from the parent generation to
reproduce a child generation:
i) Select two parent chromosomes,
ii) Generate a random number between [0,1].(If it
is smaller than the crossover rate, recombine them by
one-point arithmetic crossover; otherwise, enter the next
iii) Generate a random number between [0,1]. (If it
is smaller than the mutation rate, perform mutation on a
gene in a chromosome. Repeat this for each gene in both
iv) Add the two resulting chromosomes to the next
Repeat steps i) through iv) until S new chromo-
somes are reproduced.
4) Finally, if the stopping criterion is satisfied, then
exit; otherwise, return to step (2).
3.2. Adaptive Multi-Dimensional Hill Climbing
By means of GA optimization, we obtain a set of global
good initial guesses of the best vector of fuzzy clustering
parameters, namely the last generation produced by the
GA. In practice, it is also useful to keep track of the
“best” chromosome throughout the whole GA simulation
history. The next task is to search for the optima corre-
sponding to these good initial guesses.
As noted, our objective functions are quite compli-
cated and, thus, it is difficult to apply classical gradient-
based optimization methods. However, this problem can
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. IIM
be solved numerically by a derivative-free approach, for
instance, hill climbing. We propose a derivative-free
method in order to optimize the parameters one by one
while keeping the others fixed. Furthermore, the step size
is adaptively tuned. However, since each parameter is
not independent of the others, the overall optimization
has to be performed iteratively. Our algorithm, described
below, is actually a multi-dimensional version of adap-
tive hill climbing,
It consists of multiple loops, in each of which the in-
dividual parameters are optimized one at a time. Con-
sider optimization of
i, where its current value is
and the current model evaluation value is Ft(
)(0). Let k
= 1 and
i(k) =
i(k–1) + kd, where d is small positive
number, and keep the other p – 1 parameters unchanged.
Then recalculate the model evaluation value as Ft(
)(k). If
)(1) > Ft(
)(0), that is, the fuzzy model gets worse,
then return to
i(0) and let k = 1and replace d by –d; oth-
erwise, continue to search in the same direction within
the interval [xmin, xmax] until Ft(
)(k+1) > Ft(
)(k). The final
i(k) is taken as the optimum in the current loop. Then we
turn to the next parameter
i+1. Each computational loop
starts with
0 and ends up with
2M-2. Once a loop is
computed, another one will be started depending upon
the stopping criterion.
At the beginning of each loop, we calculate the resul-
tant model’s values of Ft(
), and we do the same for the
end of each loop. If the difference between these two
values is small enough, for example,
where is very small (e.g. 10–5), we say that the mini-
mum has been reached and we stop the local searching
In view of the facts that i) There exists an (unknown)
lower bound for Ft(
)(k), and ii) the sequence of Ft(
)(k) is
not increasing, the convergence is guaranteed according
to the Cauchy convergence criterion.
3.3. Procedure of Mixture of Local Feature
To this point the development of a new method for mix-
ture of local feature models, from model structure to pa-
rameter estimation, is almost complete. In summary, the
input space of the system is first decomposed into fuzzy
subspaces by use of the adaptive fuzzy clustering algo-
rithm and then in each subspace the system is approxi-
mated by a local linear feature model. This is somewhat
analogous to that of the Takagi-Sugeno fuzzy model [34]
within the context of predictive control.
The entire modeling procedure can be summarized as
1) Set M = 1
2) Optimize the fuzzy clustering using a hybrid GA
given the number of fuzzy clusters
a) Build an initial population of S chromosomes
b) Calculate the fitness of each chromosome;
i) Classify data points into each fuzzy cluster
ii) Perform local PCA/ICA within each fuzzy
iii) Create local PCA/ICA models based upon
data using the multiple regression method
with fuzzy variable selection
iv) Mix local PCA/ICA models
v) Calculate the weighted residual sum of squared
c) Generate the next generation of chromosomes
by selection, crossover and mutation
d) If the “stop” criterion is met, then go to e); oth-
erwise go to b)
e) Treat the last generation of GA as the starting
parameter values and determine the local min-
ima around them
3) Choose the best local optimum as the global opti-
mum and then assess the resulting optimal model by
means of G(M) in Equation (29). If G(M) < G(M – 1) for
M 2, then go to step (4); otherwise, go to step (5)
4) Set M = M + 1 and go to step (2)
5) Return the final optimal mixture model including
the optimal fuzzy clustering.
4. Numerical Simulation Study
In this section, we present results from our numerical
simulation studies. In order to directly compare with a
global composite model method, we apply the new
method to the same examples used in [1].
It is first applied to an artificial example, where the
true model is supposed to be known. This allows us to
demonstrate how the method works and its advantage
over global models. Then, the method is used concerning
a real physical case. From our numerical simulation, we
also justify our argument that a mixture of local models
is suitable to situations where severe nonlinearity is in-
volved, with the linear local models reflecting the
nonlinear characteristics.
4.1. Artificial Example
In this example, artificial models and data are used to
demonstrate the effectiveness of the new method in
treating complex nonlinearity. Assume that the true
model is expressed as
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. IIM
100 M. Y. XU ET AL.
 
150150e0 14
30esin15sin1 5
20 ln1,
yxx .xx
 
Correspondingly, the data generative model can be
written as
 (39)
obeys a normal distribution, i.e. N(0,
2) where
2 is equal to 64. From this generative model, we gath-
ered a set of data with n = 50, i.e. (xi, yi), where the xi are
evenly distributed between [0,10] (see Figure 3) and the
yi are the corresponding noisy observations.
We also propose a class of candidate models as fol-
 
 
150150e415sin1 5
20 log(1)
150150e0 1
150150e0 1
30e sin
150150e630esin( )
20 log1
150150e0 115sin1 5
150 150e
fxx .x
fxx x
 
 
 
 
 
15cos2150 004
as shown in Figure 3. Thus, for the same input these
candidate models give different results.
Note that each candidate model is either incomplete or
erroneous, or both. As shown in Figure 3, these models
approximate the true model to varying degrees over the
input space.
Once the candidate models are formulized and data are
collected, we are ready to employ our new approach to
determine local domains by fuzzy clustering, to build
local models within each fuzzy cluster and finally to mix
Figure 3. Artificial candidate models and ge ne r a te d data.
local models into a global model. The results are shown
in Table 1, compared to a single best model and a global
linear model. In Table 1, test error refers to the cross-
validation mean squared error.
The fuzzy membership functions and resultant mixture
models are plotted in Figures 4 and 5, respectively.
From the results in Table 1, we see that the new method
works well as expected. This is understandable, because
in this example highly non-linear dependencies among
candidate models and severe nonlinearity in the data are
involved. These are exactly the two primary problems
that our new approach is supposed to deal with.
Table 1. Simulation results of the artificial example.
Number of domains Domains BIC Test error
A single best model [0, 10] N/A 104.67
Global combination [0, 10] 583 18.02
2-Regime local models[0, 0.57, 4.865, 10] 55.15 11.68
Figure 4. Membership functions.
Figure 5. Local models and the mixture model.
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. IIM
4.2. Physical Case Study
In the above subsection, we demonstrate the effective-
ness of our method using artificial data. Here, we address
a physical example.
The physical example that we use here is that of the
peak ground acceleration (PGA) attenuation models used
in seismology. In this example, the purpose is to build a
more accurate mixture of local models, which is applica-
ble to southern California in the United States. A sample
data set of size 102 is obtained from the literature [35],
whose logarithms are assumed to include Gaussian noise.
Correspondingly, the candidate attenuation models in-
clude those of Boore et al. (1997)[36], Sadigh et al.
(1997)[37], Abrahamson and Silva (1997)[38], Campbell
and Bozorgnia (1997)[39], Spudich et al. (1997) and
Idriss(1995) [40]. All of these attenuation relations may
be found in Seismological Research Letters, Volume 68,
Number 1, January/February, 1997. All of these attenua-
tion relationships were developed for shallow crustal
earthquakes in active tectonic regions, and thus they
should be applicable to southern California.
The candidate models are plotted together with the
sample data in Figure 6. From Figure 6, it is easy to
note that all the models are close to be a straight line,
which means that unlike the artificial example the de-
pendence among candidate models are mostly linear.
As in the artificial example, we apply the new method
to optimize fuzzy domains, create local models and fi-
nally create a mixture model. The simulation results are
shown in Table 2, where the test error refers to the cross-
validation mean squared error, and the mixture model is
plotted in Figure 7 together with the data.
From the above results, we see that the test error of the
mixture model using two operating regimes is smaller
than that of the global model by about 12%. Also, the
Figure 6. Candidate peak ground acceleration (PGA) at-
tenuation models and data.
model plotted in Figure 7 appears reasonable. First of all,
the peak ground acceleration (PGA) decreases with in-
creasing distance from the earthquake epicenter. It also
shows that in two regions, namely near the epicenter and
far from the epicenter, the attenuation model as a func-
tion of the distance is somewhat different. One of the
possible reasons is the effect of the depth of the seismic
source. Likewise, a possible explanation of the turning
point shown near 23 km is that for shallow crustal earth-
quakes the average depth of ruptures is about 25 km [39].
5. Summary
In this paper, we propose a mixture model of local ICA
models to overcome the weakness of global models in
dealing with nonlinearity and locality. This method con-
sists of three components: fuzzy clustering, local feature
and model combination. The supervised adaptive fuzzy
clustering algorithm is proposed in order to divide the
entire input space into operating regimes, local PCA or
ICA analysis is carried out and the feature-based model
combination method is applied to create local feature
models in each individual region. Finally the local fea-
ture models are combined into a single mixture model.
Correspondingly, a three-stage optimization procedure is
designed to optimize the complete objective function,
which is actually a hybrid GA algorithm.
Table 2. Simulation results of physical case study.
Number of domains Domains BIC Test error
Best single model [0,120] N/A 0.1935
Global combination [0, 120] –66.72 0.1567
2-Regime local model [0, 23, 23.9, 120] –69.37 0.1303
Figure 7. Local models and mixture model.
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. IIM
102 M. Y. XU ET AL.
In order to demonstrate its effectiveness this new
method is applied to both an artificial example and a
physical case in a seismic study. Our simulation results
show that the adaptive fuzzy mixture of local ICA mod-
els is superior to global models.
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