# latent space

prikrit prostor, latentni prostor

In statistics, **latent variables** (from Latin: present participle of *lateo* (“lie hidden”), as opposed to observable variables) are variables that are not directly observed but are rather inferred (through a mathematical model) from other variables that are observed (directly measured). Mathematical models that aim to explain observed variables in terms of latent variables are called latent variable models. Latent variable models are used in many disciplines, including psychology, demography, economics, engineering, medicine, physics, machine learning/artificial intelligence, bioinformatics, chemometrics, natural language processing, econometrics, management and the social sciences.

Latent variables may correspond to aspects of physical reality. These could in principle be measured, but may not be for practical reasons. In this situation, the term *hidden variables* is commonly used (reflecting the fact that the variables are meaningful, but not observable). Other latent variables correspond to abstract concepts, like categories, behavioral or mental states, or data structures. The terms *hypothetical variables* or *hypothetical constructs* may be used in these situations.

The use of latent variables can serve to reduce the dimensionality of data. Many observable variables can be aggregated in a model to represent an underlying concept, making it easier to understand the data. In this sense, they serve a function similar to that of scientific theories. At the same time, latent variables link observable ("sub-symbolic") data in the real world to symbolic data in the modeled world.