While I was at Edwin Chen’s blog, I discovered this post on Restricted Boltzmann Machines which begins:
Suppose you ask a bunch of users to rate a set of movies on a 0-100 scale. In classical factor analysis, you could then try to explain each movie and user in terms of a set of latent factors. For example, movies like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings might have strong associations with a latent science fiction and fantasy factor, and users who like Wall-E and Toy Story might have strong associations with a latent Pixar factor.
Restricted Boltzmann Machines essentially perform a binary version of factor analysis. (This is one way of thinking about RBMs; there are, of course, others, and lots of different ways to use RBMs, but I’ll adopt this approach for this post.) Instead of users rating a set of movies on a continuous scale, they simply tell you whether they like a movie or not, and the RBM will try to discover latent factors that can explain the activation of these movie choices.
Not for the novice user but something you may run across in the analysis of data sets or need yourself. Excellent pointers to additional resources.