Posts tagged PCA
Factor analysis is a widely used probabilistic model for identifying low-rank structure in multivariate data as encoded in latent variables. It is very closely related to principal components analysis, and differs only in the prior distributions assumed for these latent variables. It is also a good example of a linear Gaussian model as it can be described entirely as a linear transformation of underlying Gaussian variates. For a high-level view of how factor analysis relates to other models, you can check out this diagram originally published by Ghahramani and Roweis.