Zhihui Zhu, Qiuwei Li, Xinshuo Yang, Gongguo Tang, Michael B. Wakin
Low-rank matrix factorization is a problem of broad importance, owing to the ubiquity of low-rank models in machine learning contexts. In spite of its non- convexity, this problem has a well-behaved geometric landscape, permitting local search algorithms such as gradient descent to converge to global minimizers. In this paper, we study low-rank matrix factorization in the distributed setting, where local variables at each node encode parts of the overall matrix factors, and consensus is encouraged among certain such variables. We identify conditions under which this new problem also has a well-behaved geometric landscape, and we propose an extension of distributed gradient descent (DGD) to solve this problem. The favorable landscape allows us to prove convergence to global optimality with exact consensus, a stronger result than what is provided by off-the-shelf DGD theory.