Iterative Projection Methods for Structured Sparsity Regularization

Unknown author (2009-10-14)

In this paper we propose a general framework to characterize and solve the optimization problems underlying a large class of sparsity based regularization algorithms. More precisely, we study the minimization of learning functionals that are sums of a differentiable data term and a convex non differentiable penalty. These latter penalties have recently become popular in machine learning since they allow to enforce various kinds of sparsity properties in the solution. Leveraging on the theory of Fenchel duality and subdifferential calculus, we derive explicit optimality conditions for the regularized solution and propose a general iterative projection algorithm whose convergence to the optimal solution can be proved. The generality of the framework is illustrated, considering several examples of regularization schemes, including l1 regularization (and several variants), multiple kernel learning and multi-task learning. Finally, some features of the proposed framework are empirically studied.