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Sparse Generalized Eigenvalue Problem via Smooth Optimization

DOI: 10.1109/TSP.2015.2394443

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In this paper, we consider an $\ell_{0}$-norm penalized formulation of the generalized eigenvalue problem (GEP), aimed at extracting the leading sparse generalized eigenvector of a matrix pair. The formulation involves maximization of a discontinuous nonconcave objective function over a nonconvex constraint set, and is therefore computationally intractable. To tackle the problem, we first approximate the $\ell_{0}$-norm by a continuous surrogate function. Then an algorithm is developed via iteratively majorizing the surrogate function by a quadratic separable function, which at each iteration reduces to a regular generalized eigenvalue problem. A preconditioned steepest ascent algorithm for finding the leading generalized eigenvector is provided. A systematic way based on smoothing is proposed to deal with the "singularity issue" that arises when a quadratic function is used to majorize the nondifferentiable surrogate function. For sparse GEPs with special structure, algorithms that admit a closed-form solution at every iteration are derived. Numerical experiments show that the proposed algorithms match or outperform existing algorithms in terms of computational complexity and support recovery.


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