Structured Sparse Regression via Greedy Hard Thresholding

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

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Prateek Jain, Nikhil Rao, Inderjit S. Dhillon


Several learning applications require solving high-dimensional regression problems where the relevant features belong to a small number of (overlapping) groups. For very large datasets and under standard sparsity constraints, hard thresholding methods have proven to be extremely efficient, but such methods require NP hard projections when dealing with overlapping groups. In this paper, we show that such NP-hard projections can not only be avoided by appealing to submodular optimization, but such methods come with strong theoretical guarantees even in the presence of poorly conditioned data (i.e. say when two features have correlation $\geq 0.99$), which existing analyses cannot handle. These methods exhibit an interesting computation-accuracy trade-off and can be extended to significantly harder problems such as sparse overlapping groups. Experiments on both real and synthetic data validate our claims and demonstrate that the proposed methods are orders of magnitude faster than other greedy and convex relaxation techniques for learning with group-structured sparsity.