Approximating Concavely Parameterized Optimization Problems

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

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Joachim Giesen, Jens Mueller, Soeren Laue, Sascha Swiercy


We consider an abstract class of optimization problems that are parameterized concavely in a single parameter, and show that the solution path along the parameter can always be approximated with accuracy $\varepsilon >0$ by a set of size $O(1/\sqrt{\varepsilon})$. A lower bound of size $\Omega (1/\sqrt{\varepsilon})$ shows that the upper bound is tight up to a constant factor. We also devise an algorithm that calls a step-size oracle and computes an approximate path of size $O(1/\sqrt{\varepsilon})$. Finally, we provide an implementation of the oracle for soft-margin support vector machines, and a parameterized semi-definite program for matrix completion.