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Distributed representation

In machine learning, data with a local representation typically has 1 unit per element. A 5-word vocabulary might be defined by a 5-dimensional vector, with \([1, 0, 0, 0, 0]^T\) denoting the first word, \([0, 1, 0, 0, 0]^T\) denoting the second word, and so forth.

Distributed representations are the opposite, instead of concentrating the meaning of a data point into one component or one “element”, the meaning of the data is distributed across the whole vector.

The word that is \([1, 0, 0, 0, 0]^T\) in a local representation might look like \([-0.150, -0.024, -0.233, -0.253, -0.183]^T\) in a distributed representation.