Interaction Hard Thresholding: Consistent Sparse Quadratic Regression in Sub-quadratic Time and Space

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 32 (NeurIPS 2019)

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Shuo Yang, Yanyao Shen, Sujay Sanghavi


Quadratic regression involves modeling the response as a (generalized) linear function of not only the features $x^{j_1}$ but also of quadratic terms $x^{j_1}x^{j_2}$. The inclusion of such higher-order “interaction terms" in regression often provides an easy way to increase accuracy in already-high-dimensional problems. However, this explodes the problem dimension from linear $O(p)$ to quadratic $O(p^2)$, and it is common to look for sparse interactions (typically via heuristics). In this paper, we provide a new algorithm – Interaction Hard Thresholding (IntHT) which is the first one to provably accurately solve this problem in sub-quadratic time and space. It is a variant of Iterative Hard Thresholding; one that uses the special quadratic structure to devise a new way to (approx.) extract the top elements of a $p^2$ size gradient in sub-$p^2$ time and space. Our main result is to theoretically prove that, in spite of the many speedup-related approximations, IntHT linearly converges to a consistent estimate under standard high-dimensional sparse recovery assumptions. We also demonstrate its value via synthetic experiments. Moreover, we numerically show that IntHT can be extended to higher-order regression problems, and also theoretically analyze an SVRG variant of IntHT.