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Preprints, Working Papers, ... Year : 2021

Optimal Projected Variance Group-Sparse Block PCA


We address the problem of defining a group sparse formulation for Principal Components Analysis (PCA) - or its equivalent formulations as Low Rank approximation or Dictionary Learning problems - which achieves a compromise between maximizing the variance explained by the components and promoting sparsity of the loadings. So we propose first a new definition of the variance explained by non necessarily orthogonal components, which is optimal in some aspect and compatible with the principal components situation. Then we use a specific regularization of this variance by the group-L1 norm to define a Group Sparse Maximum Variance (GSMV) formulation of PCA. The GSMV formulation achieves our objective by construction, and has the nice property that the inner non smooth optimization problem can be solved analytically, thus reducing GSMV to the maximization of a smooth and convex function under unit norm and orthogonality constraints, which generalizes Journee et al. (2010) to group sparsity. Numerical comparison with deflation on synthetic data shows that GSMV produces steadily slightly better and more robust results for the retrieval of hidden sparse structures, and is about three times faster on these examples. Application to real data shows the interest of group sparsity for variables selection in PCA of mixed data (categorical/numerical) .

Dates and versions

hal-03125264 , version 1 (29-01-2021)



Marie Chavent, Guy Chavent. Optimal Projected Variance Group-Sparse Block PCA. 2021. ⟨hal-03125264⟩


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