Solving Random Systems of Quadratic Equations via Truncated Generalized Gradient Flow

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 29 (NIPS 2016)

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Gang Wang, Georgios Giannakis


This paper puts forth a novel algorithm, termed \emph{truncated generalized gradient flow} (TGGF), to solve for $\bm{x}\in\mathbb{R}^n/\mathbb{C}^n$ a system of $m$ quadratic equations $y_i=|\langle\bm{a}_i,\bm{x}\rangle|^2$, $i=1,2,\ldots,m$, which even for $\left\{\bm{a}_i\in\mathbb{R}^n/\mathbb{C}^n\right\}_{i=1}^m$ random is known to be \emph{NP-hard} in general. We prove that as soon as the number of equations $m$ is on the order of the number of unknowns $n$, TGGF recovers the solution exactly (up to a global unimodular constant) with high probability and complexity growing linearly with the time required to read the data $\left\{\left(\bm{a}_i;\,y_i\right)\right\}_{i=1}^m$. Specifically, TGGF proceeds in two stages: s1) A novel \emph{orthogonality-promoting} initialization that is obtained with simple power iterations; and, s2) a refinement of the initial estimate by successive updates of scalable \emph{truncated generalized gradient iterations}. The former is in sharp contrast to the existing spectral initializations, while the latter handles the rather challenging nonconvex and nonsmooth \emph{amplitude-based} cost function. Numerical tests demonstrate that: i) The novel orthogonality-promoting initialization method returns more accurate and robust estimates relative to its spectral counterparts; and ii) even with the same initialization, our refinement/truncation outperforms Wirtinger-based alternatives, all corroborating the superior performance of TGGF over state-of-the-art algorithms.