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The data is linearly transformed onto a new coordinate system such that the directions (principal components) capturing the largest variation in the data can be easily identified.
The principal components of a collection of points in a real coordinate space are a sequence of unit vectors, where the -th vector is the direction of a line that best fits the data while being orthogonal to the first vectors. Here, a best-fitting line is defined as one that minimizes the average squared perpendicular distance from the points to the line. These directions (i.e., principal components) constitute an orthonormal basis in which different individual dimensions of the data are linearly uncorrelated. Many studies use the first two principal components in order to plot the data in two dimensions and to visually identify clusters of closely related data points.
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