Convergence Rate Analysis of MAP Coordinate Minimization Algorithms

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 25 (NIPS 2012)

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Ofer Meshi, Amir Globerson, Tommi Jaakkola


Finding maximum aposteriori (MAP) assignments in graphical models is an important task in many applications. Since the problem is generally hard, linear programming (LP) relaxations are often used. Solving these relaxations efficiently is thus an important practical problem. In recent years, several authors have proposed message passing updates corresponding to coordinate descent in the dual LP. However,these are generally not guaranteed to converge to a global optimum. One approach to remedy this is to smooth the LP, and perform coordinate descent on the smoothed dual. However, little is known about the convergence rate of this procedure. Here we perform a thorough rate analysis of such schemes and derive primal and dual convergence rates. We also provide a simple dual to primal mapping that yields feasible primal solutions with a guaranteed rate of convergence. Empirical evaluation supports our theoretical claims and shows that the method is highly competitive with state of the art approaches that yield global optima.