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Multidimensional scaling

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Human beings are much better in comparing two items than in quantifying them individually. So, can we arrange the items in the space according to their observed pairwise differences? And how many dimensions do we need? Can we interpret the axes of the resulting coordinate system? To answer these questions, we will first look at the underlying linear algebra to derive Torgerson- scaling, then we will discuss optimization methods like (another) Kruskal’s algorithm for the cases when perfect arrangement is not possible. Finally, we will see through some examples how sociologists, linguists, mathematicians or even football coaches can use MDS .

This talk is part of the Churchill CompSci Talks series.

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