Jonathan Lacotte, Mert Pilanci
We propose a new randomized algorithm for solving L2-regularized least-squares problems based on sketching. We consider two of the most popular random embeddings, namely, Gaussian embeddings and the Subsampled Randomized Hadamard Transform (SRHT). While current randomized solvers for least-squares optimization prescribe an embedding dimension at least greater than the data dimension, we show that the embedding dimension can be reduced to the effective dimension of the optimization problem, and still preserve high-probability convergence guarantees. In this regard, we derive sharp matrix deviation inequalities over ellipsoids for both Gaussian and SRHT embeddings. Specifically, we improve on the constant of a classical Gaussian concentration bound whereas, for SRHT embeddings, our deviation inequality involves a novel technical approach. Leveraging these bounds, we are able to design a practical and adaptive algorithm which does not require to know the effective dimension beforehand. Our method starts with an initial embedding dimension equal to 1 and, over iterations, increases the embedding dimension up to the effective one at most. Hence, our algorithm improves the state-of-the-art computational complexity for solving regularized least-squares problems. Further, we show numerically that it outperforms standard iterative solvers such as the conjugate gradient method and its pre-conditioned version on several standard machine learning datasets.