In this paper we consider general l0-norm minimization problems, that is, the problems with l0-norm appearing in either objective function or constraint. In particular, we first reformulate the l0-norm constrained problem as an equivalent rank minimization problem and then apply the penalty decomposition (PD) method proposed in  to solve the latter problem. By utilizing the special structures, we then transform all matrix operations of this method to vector operations and obtain a PD method that only involves vector operations. Under some suitable assumptions, we establish that any accumulation point of the sequence generated by the PD method satisfies a first-order optimality condition that is generally stronger than one natural optimality condition. We further extend the PD method to solve the problem with the l0-norm appearing in objective function. Finally, we test the performance of our PD methods by applying them to compressed sensing, sparse logistic regression and sparse inverse covariance selection. The computational results demonstrate that our methods generally outperform the existing methods in terms of solution quality and/or speed.
Manuscript, Department of Mathematics, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada, August 2010