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Nonconvex Sparse Graph Learning under Laplacian Constrained Graphical Model

Jiaxi Ying · José Vinícius de Miranda Cardoso · Daniel Palomar

Poster Session 6 #1853

Abstract: In this paper, we consider the problem of learning a sparse graph from the Laplacian constrained Gaussian graphical model. This problem can be formulated as a penalized maximum likelihood estimation of the precision matrix under Laplacian structural constraints. Like in the classical graphical lasso problem, recent works made use of the $\ell_1$-norm with the goal of promoting sparsity in the Laplacian constrained precision matrix estimation. However, through empirical evidence, we observe that the $\ell_1$-norm is not effective in imposing a sparse solution in this problem. From a theoretical perspective, we prove that a large regularization parameter will surprisingly lead to a solution representing a complete graph, i.e., every pair of vertices is connected by an edge. To address this issue, we propose a nonconvex penalized maximum likelihood estimation method, and establish the order of the statistical error. Numerical experiments involving synthetic and real-world data sets demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method. An open source $\mathsf{R}$ package is available at {\color{blue} \url{}}.

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