Abstract

The technique of principal component analysis (PCA) has recently been expressed as the maximum likelihood solution for a generative latent variable model. In this paper we use this probabilistic reformulation as the basis for a Bayesian treatment of PCA. Our key result is that effective dimensionality of the latent space (equivalent to the number of retained principal components) can be determined automatically as part of the Bayesian inference procedure. An important application of this framework is to mixtures of probabilistic PCA models, in which each component can determine its own effective complexity.