Regularized Linear Regression: A Precise Analysis of the Estimation Error

author: Christos Thrampoulidis, California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
published: Aug. 20, 2015,   recorded: July 2015,   views: 2393


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Non-smooth regularized convex optimization procedures have emerged as a powerful tool to recover structured signals (sparse, low-rank, etc.) from (possibly compressed) noisy linear measurements. We focus on the problem of linear regression and consider a general class of optimization methods that minimize a loss function measuring the misfit of the model to the observations with an added “structured-inducing” regularization term. Celebrated instances include the LASSO, Group-LASSO, Least-Absolute Deviations method, etc.. We develop a quite general framework for how to determine precise prediction performance guaranties (e.g. mean-square-error) of such methods for the case of Gaussian measurement ensemble. The machinery builds upon Gordon's Gaussian min-max theorem under additional convexity assumptions that arise in many practical applications. This theorem associates with a primary optimization (PO) problem a simplified auxiliary optimization (AO) problem from which we can tightly infer properties of the original (PO), such as the optimal cost, the norm of the optimal solution, etc. Our theory applies to general loss functions and regularization and provides guidelines on how to optimally tune the regularizer coefficient when certain structural properties (such as sparsity level, rank, etc.) are known.

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