Mutual information

Mutual information (often referred to in code as mi) is a measure of the information shared between two variables. Is is mathematically defined as

\[ I(X;Y) = \sum_{x \in X} \sum_{y \in Y} p(x,y) \log \frac{p(x, y)}{p(x)p(y)}, \]

or in terms of entropies,

\[ I(X;Y) = H(X) - H(X|Y). \]

Mutual information is well behaved for discrete data types (count and categorical), for which the sum applies; but for continuous data types for which the sum becomes an integral, mutual information can break down because differential entropy is no longer guaranteed to be positive.

For example, the following plots show the dependence probability and mutual information heatmaps for the zoo dataset, which is composed entirely of binary variables:

from lace import examples

animals = examples.Animals()

animals.clustermap('depprob', color_continuous_scale='greys', zmin=0, zmax=1)

Above. A dependence probability cluster map for the Animals dataset.

animals.clustermap('mi', color_continuous_scale='greys')

Above. A mutual information clustermap. Each cell represents the Mutual Information between two columns. Note that compared to dependence probability, the matrix is quite sparse. Also note that the diagonal entries are the entropies for each column.

And below are the dependence probability and mutual information heatmaps of the satellites dataset, which is composed of a mixture of categorical and continuous variables:

satellites = examples.Satellites()
satellites.clustermap('depprob', color_continuous_scale='greys', zmin=0, zmax=1)

Above. The dependence probability cluster map for the satellites date set.

satellites.clustermap('mi', color_continuous_scale='greys')

Above. The normalized mutual information cluster map for the satellites date set. Note that the values are no longer bounded between 0 and 1 due to inconsistencies caused by differential entropies.

satellites.clustermap(
    'mi',
    color_continuous_scale='greys',
    fn_kwargs={'mi_type': 'linfoot'}
)

Above. The Linfoot-transformed mutual information cluster map for the satellites date set. The Linfoot information transformation often helps to mediate the weirdness that can arise from differential entropy.

Normalization Methods

Mutual information can be difficult to interpret because it does not have well-behaved bounds. In all but the continuous case (in which the mutual information could be negative), mutual information is only guaranteed to be greater than zero. To create an upper bound, we have a number of options:

Normalized

Knowing that the mutual information cannot exceed the minimum of the total information in (the entropy of) either X or Y, we can normalize by the minimum of the two component entropies:

\[ \hat{I}(X;Y) = \frac{I(X; Y)}{\min \left[H(X), H(Y) \right]} \]

animals.clustermap(
    'mi',
    color_continuous_scale='greys',
    fn_kwargs={'mi_type': 'normed'}
)

Above. Normalized mutual information cluster map for the animals dataset.

IQR

In the Information Quality Ratio (IQR), we normalize by the joint entropy.

\[ \hat{I}(X;Y) = \frac{I(X; Y)}{H(X, Y)} \]

animals.clustermap(
    'mi',
    color_continuous_scale='greys',
    fn_kwargs={'mi_type': 'iqr'}
)

Above. IQR Normalized mutual information cluster map for the animals dataset.

Jaccard

To compute the Jaccard distance, we subtract the IQR from 1. Thus, columns with more shared information have smaller distance

\[ \hat{I}(X;Y) = 1 - \frac{I(X; Y)}{H(X, Y)} \]

animals.clustermap(
    'mi',
    color_continuous_scale='greys',
    fn_kwargs={'mi_type': 'jaccard'}
)

Above. Jaccard distance cluster map for the animals dataset.

Pearson

To compute something akin to the Pearson Correlation coefficient, we normalize by the square root of the product of the component entropies:

\[ \hat{I}(X;Y) = \frac{I(X; Y)}{\sqrt{H(X) H(Y)}} \]

animals.clustermap(
    'mi',
    color_continuous_scale='greys',
    fn_kwargs={'mi_type': 'pearson'}
)

Above. Pearson normalized mutual information matrix cluster map for the animals dataset.

Linfoot

Linfoot information is the solution to solving for the correlation between the X and Y components of a bivariate Gaussian distribution with given mutual information.

\[ \hat{I}(X;Y) = \sqrt{ 1 - \exp(2 - I(X;Y)) } \]

animals.clustermap(
    'mi',
    color_continuous_scale='greys',
    fn_kwargs={'mi_type': 'linfoot'}
)

Linfoot is often the most well-behaved normalization method especially when using continuous variables.