This intermediate-level course introduces the mathematical foundations to derive Principal Component Analysis (PCA), a fundamental dimensionality reduction technique. We'll cover some basic statistics of data sets, such as mean values and variances, we'll compute distances and angles between vectors using inner products and derive orthogonal projections of data onto lower-dimensional subspaces. Using all these tools, we'll then derive PCA as a method that minimizes the average squared reconstruction error between data points and their reconstruction.
At the end of this course, you'll be familiar with important mathematical concepts and you can implement PCA all by yourself. If you’re struggling, you'll find a set of jupyter notebooks that will allow you to explore properties of the techniques and walk you through what you need to do to get on track. If you are already an expert, this course may refresh some of your knowledge.
The lectures, examples and exercises require:
1. Some ability of abstract thinking
2. Good background in linear algebra (e.g., matrix and vector algebra, linear independence, basis)
3. Basic background in multivariate calculus (e.g., partial derivatives, basic optimization)
4. Basic knowledge in python programming and numpy
Disclaimer: This course is substantially more abstract and requires more programming than the other two courses of the specialization. However, this type of abstract thinking, algebraic manipulation and programming is necessary if you want to understand machine learning algorithms.

From the lesson

Principal Component Analysis

We can think of dimensionality reduction as a way of compressing data with some loss, similar to jpg or mp3. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) is one of the most fundamental dimensionality reduction techniques that are used in machine learning. In this module, we use the results from the first three modules of this course and derive PCA from a geometric point of view. Within this course, this module is the most challenging one, and we will go through an explicit derivation of PCA plus some coding exercises that will make us a proficient user of PCA.