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Observed Universality of Phase Transitions in High-Dimensional Geometry, With Implications for Modern Data Analysis and Signal Processing

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Executive Summary

The authors review connections between phase transitions in high-dimensional combinatorial geometry and phase transitions occurring in modern high-dimensional data analysis and signal processing. In data analysis, such transitions arise as abrupt breakdown of linear model selection, robust data fitting or compressed sensing reconstructions, when the complexity of the model or the number of outliers increases beyond a threshold. In combinatorial geometry these transitions appear as abrupt changes in the properties of face counts of convex polytopes when the dimensions are varied. The thresholds in these very different problems appear in the same critical locations after appropriate calibration of variables.

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