Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 30 (NIPS 2017)

*Simon S. Du, Yining Wang, Aarti Singh*

We show that given an estimate $\widehat{\mat A}$ that is close to a general high-rank positive semi-definite (PSD) matrix $\mat A$ in spectral norm (i.e., $\|\widehat{\mat A}-\mat A\|_2 \leq \delta$), the simple truncated Singular Value Decomposition of $\widehat{\mat A}$ produces a multiplicative approximation of $\mat A$ in Frobenius norm. This observation leads to many interesting results on general high-rank matrix estimation problems: 1.High-rank matrix completion: we show that it is possible to recover a {general high-rank matrix} $\mat A$ up to $(1+\varepsilon)$ relative error in Frobenius norm from partial observations, with sample complexity independent of the spectral gap of $\mat A$. 2.High-rank matrix denoising: we design algorithms that recovers a matrix $\mat A$ with relative error in Frobenius norm from its noise-perturbed observations, without assuming $\mat A$ is exactly low-rank. 3.Low-dimensional estimation of high-dimensional covariance: given $N$ i.i.d.~samples of dimension $n$ from $\mathcal N_n(\mat 0,\mat A)$, we show that it is possible to estimate the covariance matrix $\mat A$ with relative error in Frobenius norm with $N\approx n$,improving over classical covariance estimation results which requires $N\approx n^2$.

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