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Incoherence-Optimal Matrix Completion

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arXiv ID: 1310.0154
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This paper considers the matrix completion problem. We show that it is not necessary to assume joint incoherence, which is a standard but unintuitive and restrictive condition that is imposed by previous studies. This leads to a sample complexity bound that is order-wise optimal with respect to the incoherence parameter (as well as to the rank $r$ and the matrix dimension $n$ up to a log factor). As a consequence, we improve the sample complexity of recovering a semidefinite matrix from $O(nr^{2}\log^{2}n)$ to $O(nr\log^{2}n)$, and the highest allowable rank from $\Theta(\sqrt{n}/\log n)$ to $\Theta(n/\log^{2}n)$. The key step in proof is to obtain new bounds on the $\ell_{\infty,2}$-norm, defined as the maximum of the row and column norms of a matrix. To illustrate the applicability of our techniques, we discuss extensions to SVD projection, structured matrix completion and semi-supervised clustering, for which we provide order-wise improvements over existing results. Finally, we turn to the closely-related problem of low-rank-plus-sparse matrix decomposition. We show that the joint incoherence condition is unavoidable here for polynomial-time algorithms conditioned on the Planted Clique conjecture. This means it is intractable in general to separate a rank-$\omega(\sqrt{n})$ positive semidefinite matrix and a sparse matrix. Interestingly, our results show that the standard and joint incoherence conditions are associated respectively with the information (statistical) and computational aspects of the matrix decomposition problem.


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