Exploiting Numerical Sparsity for Efficient Learning : Faster Eigenvector Computation and Regression

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 31 (NeurIPS 2018)

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Neha Gupta, Aaron Sidford


In this paper, we obtain improved running times for regression and top eigenvector computation for numerically sparse matrices. Given a data matrix $\mat{A} \in \R^{n \times d}$ where every row $a \in \R^d$ has $\|a\|_2^2 \leq L$ and numerical sparsity $\leq s$, i.e. $\|a\|_1^2 / \|a\|_2^2 \leq s$, we provide faster algorithms for these problems for many parameter settings. For top eigenvector computation, when $\gap > 0$ is the relative gap between the top two eigenvectors of $\mat{A}^\top \mat{A}$ and $r$ is the stable rank of $\mat{A}$ we obtain a running time of $\otilde(nd + r(s + \sqrt{r s}) / \gap^2)$ improving upon the previous best unaccelerated running time of $O(nd + r d / \gap^2)$. As $r \leq d$ and $s \leq d$ our algorithm everywhere improves or matches the previous bounds for all parameter settings. For regression, when $\mu > 0$ is the smallest eigenvalue of $\mat{A}^\top \mat{A}$ we obtain a running time of $\otilde(nd + (nL / \mu) \sqrt{s nL / \mu})$ improving upon the previous best unaccelerated running time of $\otilde(nd + n L d / \mu)$. This result expands when regression can be solved in nearly linear time from when $L/\mu = \otilde(1)$ to when $L / \mu = \otilde(d^{2/3} / (sn)^{1/3})$. Furthermore, we obtain similar improvements even when row norms and numerical sparsities are non-uniform and we show how to achieve even faster running times by accelerating using approximate proximal point \cite{frostig2015regularizing} / catalyst \cite{lin2015universal}. Our running times depend only on the size of the input and natural numerical measures of the matrix, i.e. eigenvalues and $\ell_p$ norms, making progress on a key open problem regarding optimal running times for efficient large-scale learning.