Nonconvex Sparse Graph Learning under Laplacian Constrained Graphical Model

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 (NeurIPS 2020)

AuthorFeedback Bibtex MetaReview Paper Review Supplemental


Jiaxi Ying, José Vinícius de Miranda Cardoso , Daniel Palomar


In this paper, we consider the problem of learning a sparse graph from the Laplacian constrained Gaussian graphical model. This problem can be formulated as a penalized maximum likelihood estimation of the precision matrix under Laplacian structural constraints. Like in the classical graphical lasso problem, recent works made use of the $\ell_1$-norm with the goal of promoting sparsity in the Laplacian constrained precision matrix estimation. However, through empirical evidence, we observe that the $\ell_1$-norm is not effective in imposing a sparse solution in this problem. From a theoretical perspective, we prove that a large regularization parameter will surprisingly lead to a solution representing a fully connected graph instead of a sparse graph. To address this issue, we propose a nonconvex penalized maximum likelihood estimation method, and establish the order of the statistical error. Numerical experiments involving synthetic and real-world data sets demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method.