# 4 Dimension reduction

Single-cell ATAC-seq (scATAC-seq) produces large and highly sparse cell by feature count matrix. Working directly with such a large matrix is very inconvinent and computational intensive. Therefore typically, we need to reduce the dimensionality of the count matrix before any downstream analysis. Most of the counts in this matrix are very small. For example, ~50% of the counts are 1 in deeply sequenced scATAC-seq data. As a result, many methods treat the count matrix as a binary matrix.

Different from most existing approaches, the dimension reduction method used in SnapATAC2 is a pairwise-similarity based method, which requires defining and computing similarity between each pair of cells in the data. This method was first proposed in (Fang et al. 2021), the version 1 of SnapATAC, and was called “diffusion map”. In SnapATAC2, we reformulate this approach as spectral embedding, *a.k.a.*, Laplacian eigenmaps.

## 4.1 Preprocessing

We preprocess the matrix by the Inverse Document Frequency (IDF) weighting. In the context of scATAC-seq, the IDF is defined as:

## 4.2 Spectral embedding

Assuming the \(n \times p\) cell by feature count matrix \(C\) has been preprocessed, we first compute the \(n \times n\) pairwise similarity matrix \(W\) such that \(W_{ij} = \delta(C_{i*}, C_{j*})\), where \(\delta: \mathbb{R}^p \times \mathbb{R}^p \rightarrow \mathbb{R}\) is the function defines the similarity between any two cells. Typical choices of \(\delta\) include the jaccard index and the cosine similarity.

We then compute the symmetric normalized graph Laplacian \(L_{sym} = I - D^{-1/2} W D^{-1/2}\), where \(I\) is the identity matrix and \(D = diag(W1)\).

The bottom eigenvectors of \(L_{sym}\) are selected as the lower dimensional embedding. The corresponding eigenvectors can be computed alternatively as the top eigenvectors of the similarly normalized weight matrix:

\(\tilde{W} = D^{-1/2} W D^{-1/2}\),

## 4.3 Matrix-free spectral embedding with cosine similarity

When using the cosine similarity, we can avoid computing the full similarity matrix.

The cosine similarity between two vectors A and B is defined as:

\[S_c(A, B) = \frac{A \cdot B}{||A|| ||B||}\]

First we rescale the non-negative count matrix \(C\) to \(X\) such that the rows of \(X\) have unit \(L_2\) norm.

The cosine similarity matrix is then defined as,

\[W = XX^T - I\]

Note that we set the diagonal of \(W\) to zeros by subtracting the identity matrix. This is necessary because our benchmark result show that it generally improves the quality of the embedding.

The degree matrix can be computed as,

\[D = diag((X X^T - I) \mathbf{1}) = diag(X(X^T \mathbf{1}) - \mathbf{1})\]

and,

\[\tilde{W} = D^{-1/2} XX^T D^{-1/2} - D^{-1} = \tilde{X}\tilde{X}^T - D^{-1}\]

where \(\tilde{X} = D^{-1/2} X\).

Note that \(\tilde{X}\) has the same size as \(X\), and if X is sparse, \(\tilde{X}\) preserves the sparsity pattern of \(X\).

We remark that this problem would be easier if we ignore the \(D^{-1}\) term, because the eigenvectors of \(\tilde{X}\tilde{X}^T\) can be computed from the Singular Vector Decomposition (SVD) of \(\tilde{X}\). With the presence of the \(D^{-1}\) term, we resort to the Lanczos algorithm to compute the top eigenvectors of \(\tilde{W}\) without ever computing \(\tilde{W}\). Each iteration in the Lanczos algorithm requires computing the matrix-vector product between \(\tilde{W}\) and \(\mathbf{v}\),

\[\tilde{W} \mathbf{v} = \tilde{X} (\tilde{X}^T \mathbf{v}) - D^{-1} \mathbf{v}\]

Using the specific order of operations shown in the formula above, we can reduce the computational cost of the matrix-vector product to \(2z + n\), where \(n\) is the number of rows in \(X\) and \(z\) is the number of non-zero elements in \(X\).

As a comparision, performing this operation on the full similarity matrix will need \(n^2\) computations. Note that \(z ≪ n^2\) for most scATAC-seq data. Computing the full similarity matrix additionally requires \(n^3\) computations using the naive algorithm, which is prohibitively expensive for large datasets. Therefore, the matrix-free method is much faster and more memory efficient.

## 4.4 Nyström method

The matrix-free method described above is very fast and memory efficient. However, for massive datasets with hundreds of millions of cells, storing the cell by peak count matrix \(C\) may already be a challenge. In this section, we describe an on-line embedding method that can applied to virtually arbitrary large datasets. The key idea here is to use the Nystrom method to perform a low-rank approximation of the full similarity matrix.

We will be focusing on generating an approximation \(\tilde{W}\) of \(W\) based on a sample of \(l ≪ n\) of its columns.

Suppose \(W = \begin{bmatrix} A & B \\ B^T & C \end{bmatrix}\) and columns \(\begin{bmatrix} A \\ B^T \end{bmatrix}\) are our samples. We first perform eigendecomposition on \(A = U \Lambda U^T\). The nystrom method approximates the eigenvectors of matrix \(W\) by \(\tilde{U} = \begin{bmatrix} U \\ B^T U \Lambda^{-1} \end{bmatrix}\).

We can then compute \(\tilde{W}\):

\[ \begin{aligned} \tilde{W} &= \tilde{U} \Lambda \tilde{U}^T \\ &= \begin{bmatrix} U \\ B^T U \Lambda^{-1} \end{bmatrix} \Lambda \begin{bmatrix} U^T & \Lambda^{-1}U^TB \end{bmatrix} \\ &= \begin{bmatrix} U \Lambda U^T & U \Lambda \Lambda^{-1} U^T B \\ B^T U \Lambda^{-1} \Lambda U^T & B^T U \Lambda^{-1} \Lambda \Lambda^{-1} U^T B \end{bmatrix} \\ &= \begin{bmatrix} A & B \\ B^T & B^T U \Lambda^{-1} U^T B \end{bmatrix} \end{aligned} \]

In practice, \(\tilde{W}\) does not need to be computed. Instead, it is used implicitly to estimate the degree normalization vector:

\[ \tilde{d} = \tilde{W}\mathbf{1} = \begin{bmatrix}A\mathbf{1} + B\mathbf{1} \\ B^T \mathbf{1} + B^T A^{-1} B\mathbf{1} \end{bmatrix} \]

This approach requires computing the inverse of \(A\), which is expensive when \(A\) is large. Here we use an algorithm reported in XXX to approximate the degree matrix.