Tensors in biological data and algebraic statistics

Tensors are higher dimensional analogues of matrices, used to record data with multiple changing variables. Interpreting tensor data requires finding multi-linear stucture that depends on the application or context. I will describe a tensor-based clustering method for multi-dimensional data. The multi-linear structure is encoded as algebraic constraints in a linear program. I apply the method to a collection of experiments measuring the response of genetically diverse breast cancer cell lines to an array of ligands. In the second part of the talk, I will discuss low-rank decompositions of tensors that arise in statistics, focusing on two graphical models with hidden variables. I describe how the implicit semi-algebraic description of the statistical models can be used to obtain a closed form expression for the maximum likelihood estimate.