Recovery Guarantee of Non-negative Matrix Factorization via Alternating Updates

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Non-negative matrix factorization is a popular tool for decomposing data into feature and weight matrices under non-negativity constraints. It enjoys practical success but is poorly understood theoretically. This paper proposes an algorithm that alternates between decoding the weights and updating the features, and shows that assuming a generative model of the data, it provably recovers the ground-truth under fairly mild conditions. In particular, its only essential requirement on features is linear independence. Furthermore, the algorithm uses ReLU to exploit the non-negativity for decoding the weights, and thus can tolerate adversarial noise that can potentially be as large as the signal, and can tolerate unbiased noise much larger than the signal. The analysis relies on a carefully designed coupling between two potential functions, which we believe is of independent interest.


Provable Alternating Gradient Descent for Non-negative Matrix Factorization with Strong Correlations

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Non-negative matrix factorization is a basic tool for decomposing data into the feature and weight matrices under non-negativity constraints, and in practice is often solved in the alternating minimization framework. However, it is unclear whether such algorithms can recover the ground-truth feature matrix when the weights for different features are highly correlated, which is common in applications. This paper proposes a simple and natural alternating gradient descent based algorithm, and shows that with a mild initialization it provably recovers the ground-truth in the presence of strong correlations. In most interesting cases, the correlation can be in the same order as the highest possible. Our analysis also reveals its several favorable features including robustness to noise. We complement our theoretical results with empirical studies on semi-synthetic datasets, demonstrating its advantage over several popular methods in recovering the ground-truth.


Recovery Guarantee of Non-negative Matrix Factorization via Alternating Updates

Neural Information Processing Systems

Non-negative matrix factorization is a popular tool for decomposing data into feature and weight matrices under non-negativity constraints. It enjoys practical success but is poorly understood theoretically. This paper proposes an algorithm that alternates between decoding the weights and updating the features, and shows that assuming a generative model of the data, it provably recovers the ground-truth under fairly mild conditions. In particular, its only essential requirement on features is linear independence. Furthermore, the algorithm uses ReLU to exploit the non-negativity for decoding the weights, and thus can tolerate adversarial noise that can potentially be as large as the signal, and can tolerate unbiased noise much larger than the signal.



On Identifiability of Nonnegative Matrix Factorization

arXiv.org Machine Learning

In this letter, we propose a new identification criterion that guarantees the recovery of the low-rank latent factors in the nonnegative matrix factorization (NMF) model, under mild conditions. Specifically, using the proposed criterion, it suffices to identify the latent factors if the rows of one factor are \emph{sufficiently scattered} over the nonnegative orthant, while no structural assumption is imposed on the other factor except being full-rank. This is by far the mildest condition under which the latent factors are provably identifiable from the NMF model.