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Principal component analysis (PCA) is a statistical procedure that uses an orthogonal transformation to convert a set of observations of possibly correlated variables (entities each of which takes on various numerical values) into a set of values of linearly uncorrelated variables called principal components. This transformation is defined in such a way that the first principal component has the largest possible variance (that is, accounts for as much of the variability in the data as possible), and each succeeding component in turn has the highest variance possible under the constraint that it is orthogonal to the preceding components. The resulting vectors (each being a linear combination of the variables and containing n observations) are an uncorrelated orthogonal basis set. PCA is sensitive to the relative scaling of the original variables. Principal component analysis (PCA) is a statistical procedure that uses an orthogonal transformation to convert a set of observations of possibly correlated variables (entities each of which takes on various numerical values) into a set of values of linearly uncorrelated variables called principal components. This transformation is defined in such a way that the first principal component has the largest possible variance (that is, accounts for as much of the variability in the data as possible), and each succeeding component in turn has the highest variance possible under the constraint that it is orthogonal to the preceding components. The resulting vectors (each being a linear combination of the variables and containing n observations) are an uncorrelated orthogonal basis set. PCA is sensitive to the relative scaling of the original variables. PCA was invented in 1901 by Karl Pearson, as an analogue of the principal axis theorem in mechanics; it was later independently developed and named by Harold Hotelling in the 1930s. Depending on the field of application, it is also named the discrete Karhunen–Loève transform (KLT) in signal processing, the Hotelling transform in multivariate quality control, proper orthogonal decomposition (POD) in mechanical engineering, singular value decomposition (SVD) of X (Golub and Van Loan, 1983), eigenvalue decomposition (EVD) of XTX in linear algebra, factor analysis (for a discussion of the differences between PCA and factor analysis see Ch. 7 of Jolliffe's Principal Component Analysis), Eckart–Young theorem (Harman, 1960), or empirical orthogonal functions (EOF) in meteorological science, empirical eigenfunction decomposition (Sirovich, 1987), empirical component analysis (Lorenz, 1956), quasiharmonic modes (Brooks et al., 1988), spectral decomposition in noise and vibration, and empirical modal analysis in structural dynamics. PCA is mostly used as a tool in exploratory data analysis and for making predictive models. It is often used to visualize genetic distance and relatedness between populations. PCA can be done by eigenvalue decomposition of a data covariance (or correlation) matrix or singular value decomposition of a data matrix, usually after a normalization step of the initial data. The normalization of each attribute consists of mean centering – subtracting each data value from its variable's measured mean so that its empirical mean (average) is zero – and, possibly, normalizing each variable's variance to make it equal to 1; see Z-scores. The results of a PCA are usually discussed in terms of component scores, sometimes called factor scores (the transformed variable values corresponding to a particular data point), and loadings (the weight by which each standardized original variable should be multiplied to get the component score). If component scores are standardized to unit variance, loadings must contain the data variance in them (and that is the magnitude of eigenvalues). If component scores are not standardized (therefore they contain the data variance) then loadings must be unit-scaled, ('normalized') and these weights are called eigenvectors; they are the cosines of orthogonal rotation of variables into principal components or back. PCA is the simplest of the true eigenvector-based multivariate analyses. Often, its operation can be thought of as revealing the internal structure of the data in a way that best explains the variance in the data. If a multivariate dataset is visualised as a set of coordinates in a high-dimensional data space (1 axis per variable), PCA can supply the user with a lower-dimensional picture, a projection of this object when viewed from its most informative viewpoint. This is done by using only the first few principal components so that the dimensionality of the transformed data is reduced. PCA is closely related to factor analysis. Factor analysis typically incorporates more domain specific assumptions about the underlying structure and solves eigenvectors of a slightly different matrix. PCA is also related to canonical correlation analysis (CCA). CCA defines coordinate systems that optimally describe the cross-covariance between two datasets while PCA defines a new orthogonal coordinate system that optimally describes variance in a single dataset. PCA can be thought of as fitting a p-dimensional ellipsoid to the data, where each axis of the ellipsoid represents a principal component. If some axis of the ellipsoid is small, then the variance along that axis is also small, and by omitting that axis and its corresponding principal component from our representation of the dataset, we lose only a commensurately small amount of information. To find the axes of the ellipsoid, we must first subtract the mean of each variable from the dataset to center the data around the origin. Then, we compute the covariance matrix of the data and calculate the eigenvalues and corresponding eigenvectors of this covariance matrix. Then we must normalize each of the orthogonal eigenvectors to become unit vectors. Once this is done, each of the mutually orthogonal, unit eigenvectors can be interpreted as an axis of the ellipsoid fitted to the data. This choice of basis will transform our covariance matrix into a diagonalised form with the diagonal elements representing the variance of each axis. The proportion of the variance that each eigenvector represents can be calculated by dividing the eigenvalue corresponding to that eigenvector by the sum of all eigenvalues.

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