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Non-Convex Projected Gradient Descent for Generalized Low-Rank Tensor Regression

Han Chen, Garvesh Raskutti, Ming Yuan; 20(5):1−37, 2019.


In this paper, we consider the problem of learning high-dimensional tensor regression problems with low-rank structure. One of the core challenges associated with learning high-dimensional models is computation since the underlying optimization problems are often non-convex. While convex relaxations could lead to polynomial-time algorithms they are often slow in practice. On the other hand, limited theoretical guarantees exist for non-convex methods. In this paper we provide a general framework that provides theoretical guarantees for learning high-dimensional tensor regression models under different low-rank structural assumptions using the projected gradient descent algorithm applied to a potentially non-convex constraint set $\Theta$ in terms of its localized Gaussian width (due to Gaussian design). We juxtapose our theoretical results for non-convex projected gradient descent algorithms with previous results on regularized convex approaches. The two main differences between the convex and non-convex approach are: (i) from a computational perspective whether the non-convex projection operator is computable and whether the projection has desirable contraction properties and (ii) from a statistical error bound perspective, the non-convex approach has a superior rate for a number of examples. We provide three concrete examples of low-dimensional structure which address these issues and explain the pros and cons for the non-convex and convex approaches. We supplement our theoretical results with simulations which show that, under several common settings of generalized low rank tensor regression, the projected gradient descent approach is superior both in terms of statistical error and run-time provided the step-sizes of the projected descent algorithm are suitably chosen.

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