Sparse Metric Learning via Smooth Optimization

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 22 (NIPS 2009)

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Yiming Ying, Kaizhu Huang, Colin Campbell


In this paper we study the problem of learning a low-dimensional (sparse) distance matrix. We propose a novel metric learning model which can simultaneously conduct dimension reduction and learn a distance matrix. The sparse representation involves a mixed-norm regularization which is non-convex. We then show that it can be equivalently formulated as a convex saddle (min-max) problem. From this saddle representation, we develop an efficient smooth optimization approach for sparse metric learning although the learning model is based on a non-differential loss function. This smooth optimization approach has an optimal convergence rate of $O(1 /\ell^2)$ for smooth problems where $\ell$ is the iteration number. Finally, we run experiments to validate the effectiveness and efficiency of our sparse metric learning model on various datasets.