A Mean Field Games model for finite mixtures of Bernoulli and Categorical distributions

Laura Aquilanti, Simone Cacace, Fabio Camilli, Raul De Maio

Finite mixture models are an important tool in the statistical analysis of data, for example in data clustering. The optimal parameters of a mixture model are usually computed by maximizing the log-likelihood functional via the Expectation-Maximization algorithm. We propose an alternative approach based on the theory of Mean Field Games, a class of differential games with an infinite number of agents. We show that the solution of a finite state space multi-population Mean Field Games system characterizes the critical points of the log-likelihood functional for a Bernoulli mixture. The approach is then generalized to mixture models of categorical distributions. Hence, the Mean Field Games approach provides a method to compute the parameters of the mixture model, and we show its application to some standard examples in cluster analysis.

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