Matrix factorization with binary components

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 26 (NIPS 2013)

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Martin Slawski, Matthias Hein, Pavlo Lutsik


Motivated by an application in computational biology, we consider constrained low-rank matrix factorization problems with $\{0,1\}$-constraints on one of the factors. In addition to the the non-convexity shared with more general matrix factorization schemes, our problem is further complicated by a combinatorial constraint set of size $2^{m \cdot r}$, where $m$ is the dimension of the data points and $r$ the rank of the factorization. Despite apparent intractability, we provide $-$in the line of recent work on non-negative matrix factorization by Arora et al.~(2012)$-$ an algorithm that provably recovers the underlying factorization in the exact case with operations of the order $O(m r 2^r + mnr)$ in the worst case. To obtain that result, we invoke theory centered around a fundamental result in combinatorics, the Littlewood-Offord lemma.