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A Tight Bound of Hard Thresholding

Jie Shen, Ping Li; 18(208):1−42, 2018.


This paper is concerned with the hard thresholding operator which sets all but the $k$ largest absolute elements of a vector to zero. We establish a tight bound to quantitatively characterize the deviation of the thresholded solution from a given signal. Our theoretical result is universal in the sense that it holds for all choices of parameters, and the underlying analysis depends only on fundamental arguments in mathematical optimization. We discuss the implications for two domains: Compressed Sensing. On account of the crucial estimate, we bridge the connection between the restricted isometry property (RIP) and the sparsity parameter for a vast volume of hard thresholding based algorithms, which renders an improvement on the RIP condition especially when the true sparsity is unknown. This suggests that in essence, many more kinds of sensing matrices or fewer measurements are admissible for the data acquisition procedure. Machine Learning. In terms of large-scale machine learning, a significant yet challenging problem is learning accurate sparse models in an efficient manner. In stark contrast to prior work that attempted the $\ell_1$-relaxation for promoting sparsity, we present a novel stochastic algorithm which performs hard thresholding in each iteration, hence ensuring such parsimonious solutions. Equipped with the developed bound, we prove the {\em global linear convergence} for a number of prevalent statistical models under mild assumptions, even though the problem turns out to be non-convex.

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