Statistical mechanical analysis of sparse linear regression as a variable selection problem

29 May 2018  ·  Tomoyuki Obuchi, Yoshinori Nakanishi-Ohno, Masato Okada, Yoshiyuki Kabashima ·

An algorithmic limit of compressed sensing or related variable-selection problems is analytically evaluated when a design matrix is given by an overcomplete random matrix. The replica method from statistical mechanics is employed to derive the result. The analysis is conducted through evaluation of the entropy, an exponential rate of the number of combinations of variables giving a specific value of fit error to given data which is assumed to be generated from a linear process using the design matrix. This yields the typical achievable limit of the fit error when solving a representative $\ell_0$ problem and includes the presence of unfavourable phase transitions preventing local search algorithms from reaching the minimum-error configuration. The associated phase diagrams are presented. A noteworthy outcome of the phase diagrams is that there exists a wide parameter region where any phase transition is absent from the high temperature to the lowest temperature at which the minimum-error configuration or the ground state is reached. This implies that certain local search algorithms can find the ground state with moderate computational costs in that region. Another noteworthy result is the presence of the random first-order transition in the strong noise case. The theoretical evaluation of the entropy is confirmed by extensive numerical methods using the exchange Monte Carlo and the multi-histogram methods. Another numerical test based on a metaheuristic optimisation algorithm called simulated annealing is conducted, which well supports the theoretical predictions on the local search algorithms. In the successful region with no phase transition, the computational cost of the simulated annealing to reach the ground state is estimated as the third order polynomial of the model dimensionality.

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