Recursive Sampling for the Nystrom Method

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

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Cameron Musco, Christopher Musco


We give the first algorithm for kernel Nystrom approximation that runs in linear time in the number of training points and is provably accurate for all kernel matrices, without dependence on regularity or incoherence conditions. The algorithm projects the kernel onto a set of s landmark points sampled by their ridge leverage scores, requiring just O(ns) kernel evaluations and O(ns^2) additional runtime. While leverage score sampling has long been known to give strong theoretical guarantees for Nystrom approximation, by employing a fast recursive sampling scheme, our algorithm is the first to make the approach scalable. Empirically we show that it finds more accurate kernel approximations in less time than popular techniques such as classic Nystrom approximation and the random Fourier features method.