# Searching for Structure in Point Data

# Searching for Structure in Point Data

Inferring the probability density function (pdf) from a sample of data is known as density estimation. The same methodology is often called data smoothing. Density estimation in the one-dimensional case has been discussed in the previous chapters. This chapter extends it to multidimensional cases. Density estimation is one of the most critical components of extracting knowledge from data. For example, given a pdf estimated from point data, we can generate simulated distributions of data and compare them against observations. If we can identify regions of low probability within the pdf, we have a mechanism for the detection of unusual or anomalous sources. If our point data can be separated into subsamples using provided class labels, we can estimate the pdf for each subsample and use the resulting set of pdfs to classify new points: the probability that a new point belongs to each subsample/class is proportional to the pdf of each class evaluated at the position of the point.

*Keywords:*
density estimation, probability density functions, statistical inference, data smoothing

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