High Dimensional EM Algorithm: Statistical Optimization and Asymptotic Normality

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 28 (NIPS 2015)

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Zhaoran Wang, Quanquan Gu, Yang Ning, Han Liu


We provide a general theory of the expectation-maximization (EM) algorithm for inferring high dimensional latent variable models. In particular, we make two contributions: (i) For parameter estimation, we propose a novel high dimensional EM algorithm which naturally incorporates sparsity structure into parameter estimation. With an appropriate initialization, this algorithm converges at a geometric rate and attains an estimator with the (near-)optimal statistical rate of convergence. (ii) Based on the obtained estimator, we propose a new inferential procedure for testing hypotheses for low dimensional components of high dimensional parameters. For a broad family of statistical models, our framework establishes the first computationally feasible approach for optimal estimation and asymptotic inference in high dimensions.