Alternating minimization for generalized rank one matrix sensing: Sharp predictions from a random initialization

ACO Student Seminar
Friday, April 7, 2023 - 1:00pm for 1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Skiles 005
Mengqi Lou – Georgia Tech ISyE –
Abhishek Dhawan

We consider the problem of estimating the factors of a rank-1 matrix with i.i.d. Gaussian, rank-1 measurements that are nonlinearly transformed and corrupted by noise. Considering two prototypical choices for the nonlinearity, we study the convergence properties of a natural alternating update rule for this nonconvex optimization problem starting from a random initialization. We show sharp convergence guarantees for a sample-split version of the algorithm by deriving a deterministic recursion that is accurate even in high-dimensional problems. Our sharp, non-asymptotic analysis also exposes several other fine-grained properties of this problem, including how the nonlinearity and noise level affect convergence behavior.


On a technical level, our results are enabled by showing that the empirical error recursion can be predicted by our deterministic sequence within fluctuations of the order n−1/2 when each iteration is run with n observations. Our technique leverages leave-one-out tools originating in the literature on high-dimensional M–estimation and provides an avenue for sharply analyzing higher-order iterative algorithms from a random initialization in other high-dimensional optimization problems with random data.