John C. Platt
This paper applies fast sparse multidimensional scaling (MDS) to a large graph of music similarity, with 267K vertices that represent artists, albums, and tracks; and 3.22M edges that represent similarity between those entities. Once vertices are assigned locations in a Euclidean space, the locations can be used to browse music and to generate playlists. MDS on very large sparse graphs can be effectively performed by a family of algorithms called Rectangular Dijsktra (RD) MDS algorithms. These RD algorithms operate on a dense rectangular slice of the distance matrix, created by calling Dijsktra a constant number of times. Two RD algorithms are compared: Landmark MDS, which uses the Nyström approximation to perform MDS; and a new algorithm called Fast Sparse Embedding, which uses FastMap. These algorithms compare favorably to Laplacian Eigenmaps, both in terms of speed and embedding quality.