Kyng, Rasmus, Rao, Anup, Sachdeva, Sushant

Given a directed acyclic graph $G,$ and a set of values $y$ on the vertices, the Isotonic Regression of $y$ is a vector $x$ that respects the partial order described by $G,$ and minimizes $\|x-y\|,$ for a specified norm. This paper gives improved algorithms for computing the Isotonic Regression for all weighted $\ell_{p}$-norms with rigorous performance guarantees. Our algorithms are quite practical, and their variants can be implemented to run fast in practice.

For the general problem of minimizing a convex function over a compact convex domain, we will investigate a simple iterative approximation algorithm based on the method by Frank & Wolfe 1956, that does not need projection steps in order to stay inside the optimization domain. Instead of a projection step, the linearized problem defined by a current subgradient is solved, which gives a step direction that will naturally stay in the domain. Our framework generalizes the sparse greedy algorithm of Frank & Wolfe and its primal-dual analysis by Clarkson 2010 (and the low-rank SDP approach by Hazan 2008) to arbitrary convex domains. We give a convergence proof guaranteeing {\epsilon}-small duality gap after O(1/{\epsilon}) iterations. The method allows us to understand the sparsity of approximate solutions for any l1-regularized convex optimization problem (and for optimization over the simplex), expressed as a function of the approximation quality. We obtain matching upper and lower bounds of {\Theta}(1/{\epsilon}) for the sparsity for l1-problems. The same bounds apply to low-rank semidefinite optimization with bounded trace, showing that rank O(1/{\epsilon}) is best possible here as well. As another application, we obtain sparse matrices of O(1/{\epsilon}) non-zero entries as {\epsilon}-approximate solutions when optimizing any convex function over a class of diagonally dominant symmetric matrices. We show that our proposed first-order method also applies to nuclear norm and max-norm matrix optimization problems. For nuclear norm regularized optimization, such as matrix completion and low-rank recovery, we demonstrate the practical efficiency and scalability of our algorithm for large matrix problems, as e.g. the Netflix dataset. For general convex optimization over bounded matrix max-norm, our algorithm is the first with a convergence guarantee, to the best of our knowledge.

Cheng, Dehua, Cheng, Yu, Liu, Yan, Peng, Richard, Teng, Shang-Hua

We consider a fundamental algorithmic question in spectral graph theory: Compute a spectral sparsifier of random-walk matrix-polynomial $$L_\alpha(G)=D-\sum_{r=1}^d\alpha_rD(D^{-1}A)^r$$ where $A$ is the adjacency matrix of a weighted, undirected graph, $D$ is the diagonal matrix of weighted degrees, and $\alpha=(\alpha_1...\alpha_d)$ are nonnegative coefficients with $\sum_{r=1}^d\alpha_r=1$. Recall that $D^{-1}A$ is the transition matrix of random walks on the graph. The sparsification of $L_\alpha(G)$ appears to be algorithmically challenging as the matrix power $(D^{-1}A)^r$ is defined by all paths of length $r$, whose precise calculation would be prohibitively expensive. In this paper, we develop the first nearly linear time algorithm for this sparsification problem: For any $G$ with $n$ vertices and $m$ edges, $d$ coefficients $\alpha$, and $\epsilon > 0$, our algorithm runs in time $O(d^2m\log^2n/\epsilon^{2})$ to construct a Laplacian matrix $\tilde{L}=D-\tilde{A}$ with $O(n\log n/\epsilon^{2})$ non-zeros such that $\tilde{L}\approx_{\epsilon}L_\alpha(G)$. Matrix polynomials arise in mathematical analysis of matrix functions as well as numerical solutions of matrix equations. Our work is particularly motivated by the algorithmic problems for speeding up the classic Newton's method in applications such as computing the inverse square-root of the precision matrix of a Gaussian random field, as well as computing the $q$th-root transition (for $q\geq1$) in a time-reversible Markov model. The key algorithmic step for both applications is the construction of a spectral sparsifier of a constant degree random-walk matrix-polynomials introduced by Newton's method. Our algorithm can also be used to build efficient data structures for effective resistances for multi-step time-reversible Markov models, and we anticipate that it could be useful for other tasks in network analysis.

In this paper, we obtain improved running times for regression and top eigenvector computation for numerically sparse matrices. Given a data matrix $\mat{A} \in \R^{n \times d}$ where every row $a \in \R^d$ has $\|a\|_2^2 \leq L$ and numerical sparsity $\leq s$, i.e. $\|a\|_1^2 / \|a\|_2^2 \leq s$, we provide faster algorithms for these problems for many parameter settings. For top eigenvector computation, when $\gap > 0$ is the relative gap between the top two eigenvectors of $\mat{A}^\top \mat{A}$ and $r$ is the stable rank of $\mat{A}$ we obtain a running time of $\otilde(nd + r(s + \sqrt{r s}) / \gap^2)$ improving upon the previous best unaccelerated running time of $O(nd + r d / \gap^2)$. As $r \leq d$ and $s \leq d$ our algorithm everywhere improves or matches the previous bounds for all parameter settings. For regression, when $\mu > 0$ is the smallest eigenvalue of $\mat{A}^\top \mat{A}$ we obtain a running time of $\otilde(nd + (nL / \mu) \sqrt{s nL / \mu})$ improving upon the previous best unaccelerated running time of $\otilde(nd + n L d / \mu)$. This result expands when regression can be solved in nearly linear time from when $L/\mu = \otilde(1)$ to when $L / \mu = \otilde(d^{2/3} / (sn)^{1/3})$. Furthermore, we obtain similar improvements even when row norms and numerical sparsities are non-uniform and we show how to achieve even faster running times by accelerating using approximate proximal point \cite{frostig2015regularizing} / catalyst \cite{lin2015universal}. Our running times depend only on the size of the input and natural numerical measures of the matrix, i.e. eigenvalues and $\ell_p$ norms, making progress on a key open problem regarding optimal running times for efficient large-scale learning.