Theses Doctoral

Algorithms for Sparse and Low-Rank Optimization: Convergence, Complexity and Applications

Ma, Shiqian

Solving optimization problems with sparse or low-rank optimal solutions has been an important topic since the recent emergence of compressed sensing and its matrix extensions such as the matrix rank minimization and robust principal component analysis problems. Compressed sensing enables one to recover a signal or image with fewer observations than the "length" of the signal or image, and thus provides potential breakthroughs in applications where data acquisition is costly. However, the potential impact of compressed sensing cannot be realized without efficient optimization algorithms that can handle extremely large-scale and dense data from real applications. Although the convex relaxations of these problems can be reformulated as either linear programming, second-order cone programming or semidefinite programming problems, the standard methods for solving these relaxations are not applicable because the problems are usually of huge size and contain dense data. In this dissertation, we give efficient algorithms for solving these "sparse" optimization problems and analyze the convergence and iteration complexity properties of these algorithms.

Chapter 2 presents algorithms for solving the linearly constrained matrix rank minimization problem. The tightest convex relaxation of this problem is the linearly constrained nuclear norm minimization. Although the latter can be cast and solved as a semidefinite programming problem, such an approach is computationally expensive when the matrices are large. In Chapter 2, we propose fixed-point and Bregman iterative algorithms for solving the nuclear norm minimization problem and prove convergence of the first of these algorithms. By using a homotopy approach together with an approximate singular value decomposition procedure, we get a very fast, robust and powerful algorithm, which we call FPCA (Fixed Point Continuation with Approximate SVD), that can solve very large matrix rank minimization problems. Our numerical results on randomly generated and real matrix completion problems demonstrate that this algorithm is much faster and provides much better recoverability than semidefinite programming solvers such as SDPT3. For example, our algorithm can recover 1000 × 1000 matrices of rank 50 with a relative error of 10<sup>-5</sup> in about 3 minutes by sampling only 20 percent of the elements. We know of no other method that achieves as good recoverability. Numerical experiments on online recommendation, DNA microarray data set and image inpainting problems demonstrate the effectiveness of our algorithms.

In Chapter 3, we study the convergence/recoverability properties of the fixed point continuation algorithm and its variants for matrix rank minimization. Heuristics for determining the rank of the matrix when its true rank is not known are also proposed. Some of these algorithms are closely related to greedy algorithms in compressed sensing. Numerical results for these algorithms for solving linearly constrained matrix rank minimization problems are reported. Chapters 4 and 5 considers alternating direction type methods for solving composite convex optimization problems.

We present in Chapter 4 alternating linearization algorithms that are based on an alternating direction augmented Lagrangian approach for minimizing the sum of two convex functions. Our basic methods require at most O(1/ε) iterations to obtain an ε-optimal solution, while our accelerated (i.e., fast) versions require at most O(1/√ε) iterations, with little change in the computational effort required at each iteration. For more general problem, i.e., minimizing the sum of K convex functions, we propose multiple-splitting algorithms for solving them. We propose both basic and accelerated algorithms with O(1/ε) and O(1/√ε) iteration complexity bounds for obtaining an ε-optimal solution.

To the best of our knowledge, the complexity results presented in these two chapters are the first ones of this type that have been given for splitting and alternating direction type methods. Numerical results on various applications in sparse and low-rank optimization, including compressed sensing, matrix completion, image deblurring, robust principal component analysis, are reported to demonstrate the efficiency of our methods.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Industrial Engineering and Operations Research
Thesis Advisors
Goldfarb, Donald
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
August 22, 2011