Colloquium PR[AI]RIE

Information theory through kernel method


Speaker: Francis Bach


Researcher at Inria, leading since 2011 the machine learning team which is part of the Computer Science department at Ecole Normale Supérieure. Ph.D. Berkeley (2005). ERC Starting grant (2009) and Consolidator Grant (2016), Inria young researcher prize (2012), ICML test-of-time award (2014), Lagrange prize in continuous optimization (2018). Co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Machine Learning Research. Member of the Academy of Sciences.


Estimating and computing entropies of probability distributions are key computational tasks throughout data science. In many situations, the underlying distributions are only known through the expectation of some feature vectors, which has led to a series of works within kernel methods. In this talk, I will explore the particular situation where the feature vector is a rank-one positive definite matrix, and show how the associated expectations (a covariance matrix) can be used with information divergences from quantum information theory to draw direct links with the classical notions of Shannon entropies.