Sharpness, Restart and Acceleration.

The Lojasievicz inequality shows that sharpness bounds on the minimum of convex optimization problems hold almost generically. Here, we show that sharpness directly controls the performance of restart schemes. The constants quantifying sharpness are of course unobservable, but we show that optimal restart strategies are fairly robust, and searching for the best scheme only increases … Read more

Integration Methods and Accelerated Optimization Algorithms

We show that accelerated optimization methods can be seen as particular instances of multi-step integration schemes from numerical analysis, applied to the gradient flow equation. In comparison with recent advances in this vein, the differential equation considered here is the basic gradient flow and we show that multi-step schemes allow integration of this differential equation … Read more

Regularized Nonlinear Acceleration

We describe a convergence acceleration technique for generic optimization problems. Our scheme computes estimates of the optimum from a nonlinear average of the iterates produced by any optimization method. The weights in this average are computed via a simple linear system, whose solution can be updated online. This acceleration scheme runs in parallel to the … Read more

Regularized nonlinear acceleration

We describe a convergence acceleration technique for generic optimization problems. Our scheme computes estimates of the optimum from a nonlinear average of the iterates produced by any optimization method. The weights in this average are computed via a simple linear system, whose solution can be updated online. This acceleration scheme runs in parallel to the … Read more

Sparse Covariance Selection via Robust Maximum Likelihood Estimation

We address a problem of covariance selection, where we seek a trade-off between a high likelihood against the number of non-zero elements in the inverse covariance matrix. We solve a maximum likelihood problem with a penalty term given by the sum of absolute values of the elements of the inverse covariance matrix, and allow for … Read more

A direct formulation for sparse PCA using semidefinite programming

We examine the problem of approximating, in the Frobenius-norm sense, a positive, semidefinite symmetric matrix by a rank-one matrix, with an upper bound on the cardinality of its eigenvector. The problem arises in the decomposition of a covariance matrix into sparse factors, and has wide applications ranging from biology to finance. We use a modification … Read more