Seriation seeks to reconstruct a linear order between variables using unsorted similarity information. It has direct applications in archeology and shotgun gene sequencing for example. We prove the equivalence between the seriation and the combinatorial 2-sum problem (a quadratic minimization problem over permutations) over a class of similarity matrices. The seriation problem can be solved exactly by a spectral algorithm in the noiseless case and we produce a convex relaxation for the 2-sum problem to improve the robustness of solutions in a noisy setting. This relaxation also allows us to impose additional structural constraints on the solution, to solve semi-supervised seriation problems.
This contribution develops a theoretical framework that takes into account the effect of approximate optimization on learning algorithms. The analysis shows distinct tradeoffs for the case of small-scale and large-scale learning problems. Small-scale learning problems are subject to the usual approximation--estimation tradeoff. Large-scale learning problems are subject to a qualitatively different tradeoff involving the computational complexity of the underlying optimization algorithms in non-trivial ways. Papers published at the Neural Information Processing Systems Conference.
Rank minimization has attracted a lot of attention due to its robustness in data recovery. To overcome the computational difficulty, rank is often replaced with nuclear norm. For several rank minimization problems, such a replacement has been theoretically proven to be valid, i.e., the solution to nuclear norm minimization problem is also the solution to rank minimization problem. Although it is easy to believe that such a replacement may not always be valid, no concrete example has ever been found. We argue that such a validity checking cannot be done by numerical computation and show, by analyzing the noiseless latent low rank representation (LatLRR) model, that even for very simple rank minimization problems the validity may still break down. As a by-product, we find that the solution to the nuclear norm minimization formulation of LatLRR is non-unique. Hence the results of LatLRR reported in the literature may be questionable.