Regularized Laplacian Estimation and Fast Eigenvector Approximation

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 24 (NIPS 2011)

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Patrick Perry, Michael W. Mahoney


Recently, Mahoney and Orecchia demonstrated that popular diffusion-based procedures to compute a quick approximation to the first nontrivial eigenvector of a data graph Laplacian exactly solve certain regularized Semi-Definite Programs (SDPs). In this paper, we extend that result by providing a statistical interpretation of their approximation procedure. Our interpretation will be analogous to the manner in which l2-regularized or l1-regularized l2 regression (often called Ridge regression and Lasso regression, respectively) can be interpreted in terms of a Gaussian prior or a Laplace prior, respectively, on the coefficient vector of the regression problem. Our framework will imply that the solutions to the Mahoney-Orecchia regularized SDP can be interpreted as regularized estimates of the pseudoinverse of the graph Laplacian. Conversely, it will imply that the solution to this regularized estimation problem can be computed very quickly by running, e.g., the fast diffusion-based PageRank procedure for computing an approximation to the first nontrivial eigenvector of the graph Laplacian. Empirical results are also provided to illustrate the manner in which approximate eigenvector computation implicitly performs statistical regularization, relative to running the corresponding exact algorithm.