# Multidimensional scaling (MDS)

## Multidimensional scaling (MDS) :

Multidimensional scaling (MDS) is a technique used to visualize the underlying similarities and dissimilarities between a set of objects or items. It does this by representing the objects in a low-dimensional space (typically two or three dimensions) while preserving the distances between the objects as much as possible. In other words, MDS attempts to represent the similarity between objects in a spatial representation, where objects that are similar are close to each other and objects that are dissimilar are further apart.
To understand how MDS works, let’s consider a simple example where we have a set of four objects: A, B, C, and D. We can represent the similarity between these objects using a similarity matrix, where each cell in the matrix represents the similarity between two objects. For example, if the similarity between objects A and B is 0.8, and the similarity between objects A and C is 0.6, the similarity matrix would look like this:
A    B    C    D
A 1.0 0.8 0.6 0.5
B 0.8 1.0 0.7 0.4
C 0.6 0.7 1.0 0.3
D 0.5 0.4 0.3 1.0
To apply MDS to this data, we first need to compute the distance matrix, which is the inverse of the similarity matrix. This means that the distance between objects A and B will be the inverse of the similarity between them, and so on. In our example, the distance matrix would look like this:
A    B    C    D
A 1.0 1.25 1.67 2.00
B 1.25 1.0 1.43 2.50
C 1.67 1.43 1.0 3.33
D 2.00 2.50 3.33 1.0
Next, we need to represent the objects in a low-dimensional space, such as a two-dimensional plot. To do this, we can use a technique called classical scaling, which involves finding a set of coordinates in the low-dimensional space that minimize the stress, or the difference between the distances in the low-dimensional space and the distances in the distance matrix. In other words, classical scaling attempts to find a set of coordinates that best preserve the distances between the objects.
In our example, we can represent the objects in a two-dimensional plot as follows:
A    B    C    D
X 1.0 0.8 0.6 0.5
Y 0.8 1.0 0.7 0.4
As you can see, objects A and B are close to each other in the plot, which reflects their similarity in the similarity matrix. Similarly, objects C and D are further apart, which reflects their dissimilarity.
MDS is a powerful tool for visualizing similarities and dissimilarities between a set of objects. It has a wide range of applications, including market research, psychology, and biology. For example, in market research, MDS can be used to represent the preferences of different customers for a set of products, where similar preferences are represented by points that are close together in the MDS plot. In psychology, MDS can be used to represent the similarity between different personality traits, where traits that are similar are represented by points that are close together in the MDS plot.