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Journal Articles Foundations of Computational Mathematics Year : 2022

Detection thresholds in very sparse matrix completion


Let $A$ be a rectangular matrix of size $m\times n$ and $A_1$ be the random matrix where each entry of $A$ is multiplied by an independent $\{0,1\}$-Bernoulli random variable with parameter $1/2$. This paper is about when, how and why the non-Hermitian eigen-spectra of the randomly induced asymmetric matrices $A_1 (A - A_1)^*$ and $(A-A_1)^*A_1$ captures more of the relevant information about the principal component structure of $A$ than via its SVD or the eigen-spectra of $A A^*$ and $A^* A$, respectively. Hint: the asymmetry inducing randomness breaks the echo-chamber effect that cripples the SVD. We illustrate the application of this striking phenomenon on the low-rank matrix completion problem for the setting where each entry is observed with probability $d/n$, including the very sparse regime where $d$ is of order $1$, where matrix completion via the SVD of $A$ fails or produces unreliable recovery. We determine an asymptotically exact, matrix-dependent, non-universal detection threshold above which reliable, statistically optimal matrix recovery using a new, universal data-driven matrix-completion algorithm is possible. Averaging the left and right eigenvectors provably improves the recovered matrix but not the detection threshold. We define another variant of this asymmetric procedure that bypasses the randomization step and has a detection threshold that is smaller by a constant factor but with a computational cost that is larger by a polynomial factor of the number of observed entries. Both detection thresholds shatter the seeming barrier due to the well-known information theoretical limit $d \asymp \log n$ for matrix completion found in the literature.

Dates and versions

hal-03029291 , version 1 (28-11-2020)



Charles Bordenave, Simon Coste, Raj Rao Nadakuditi. Detection thresholds in very sparse matrix completion. Foundations of Computational Mathematics, In press. ⟨hal-03029291⟩
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