Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 32 (NeurIPS 2019)

*Jianhao Peng, Olgica Milenkovic, Abhishek Agarwal*

Matrix factorization (MF) is a versatile learning method that has found wide applications in various data-driven disciplines. Still, many MF algorithms do not adequately scale with the size of available datasets and/or lack interpretability. To improve the computational efficiency of the method, an online (streaming) MF algorithm was proposed in Mairal et al., 2010. To enable data interpretability, a constrained version of MF, termed convex MF, was introduced in Ding et al., 2010. In the latter work, the basis vectors are required to lie in the convex hull of the data samples, thereby ensuring that every basis can be interpreted as a weighted combination of data samples. No current algorithmic solutions for online convex MF are known as it is challenging to find adequate convex bases without having access to the complete dataset. We address both problems by proposing the first online convex MF algorithm that maintains a collection of constant-size sets of representative data samples needed for interpreting each of the basis (Ding et al., 2010) and has the same almost sure convergence guarantees as the online learning algorithm of Mairal et al., 2010. Our proof techniques combine random coordinate descent algorithms with specialized quasi-martingale convergence analysis. Experiments on synthetic and real world datasets show significant computational savings of the proposed online convex MF method compared to classical convex MF. Since the proposed method maintains small representative sets of data samples needed for convex interpretations, it is related to a body of work in theoretical computer science, pertaining to generating point sets (Blum et al., 2016), and in computer vision, pertaining to archetypal analysis (Mei et al., 2018). Nevertheless, it differs from these lines of work both in terms of the objective and algorithmic implementations.

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