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Oral
Thu Dec 8th 11:10 -- 11:30 AM @ Area 1 + 2
Interpretable Distribution Features with Maximum Testing Power
Wittawat Jitkrittum · Zoltán Szabó · Kacper P Chwialkowski · Arthur Gretton

Two semimetrics on probability distributions are proposed, given as the sum of differences of expectations of analytic functions evaluated at spatial or frequency locations (i.e, features). The features are chosen so as to maximize the distinguishability of the distributions, by optimizing a lower bound on test power for a statistical test using these features. The result is a parsimonious and interpretable indication of how and where two distributions differ locally. An empirical estimate of the test power criterion converges with increasing sample size, ensuring the quality of the returned features. In real-world benchmarks on high-dimensional text and image data, linear-time tests using the proposed semimetrics achieve comparable performance to the state-of-the-art quadratic-time maximum mean discrepancy test, while returning human-interpretable features that explain the test results.