Preconditioning Matters: Fast Global Convergence of Non-convex Matrix Factorization via Scaled Gradient Descent

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

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Xixi Jia, Hailin Wang, Jiangjun Peng, Xiangchu Feng, Deyu Meng


Low-rank matrix factorization (LRMF) is a canonical problem in non-convex optimization, the objective function to be minimized is non-convex and even non-smooth, which makes the global convergence guarantee of gradient-based algorithm quite challenging. Recent work made a breakthrough on proving that standard gradient descent converges to the $\varepsilon$-global minima after $O( \frac{d \kappa^2}{\tau^2} {\rm ln} \frac{d \sigma_d}{\tau} + \frac{d \kappa^2}{\tau^2} {\rm ln} \frac{\sigma_d}{\varepsilon})$ iterations from small initialization with a very small learning rate (both are related to the small constant $\tau$). While the dependence of the convergence on the \textit{condition number} $\kappa$ and \textit{small learning rate} makes it not practical especially for ill-conditioned LRMF problem.In this paper, we show that precondition helps in accelerating the convergence and prove that the scaled gradient descent (ScaledGD) and its variant, alternating scaled gradient descent (AltScaledGD) converge to an $\varepsilon$-global minima after $O( {\rm ln} \frac{d}{\delta} + {\rm ln} \frac{d}{\varepsilon})$ iterations from general random initialization. Meanwhile, for small initialization as in gradient descent, both ScaledGD and AltScaledGD converge to $\varepsilon$-global minima after only $O({\rm ln} \frac{d}{\varepsilon})$ iterations. Furthermore, we prove that as a proximity to the alternating minimization, AltScaledGD converges faster than ScaledGD, its global convergence does not rely on small learning rate and small initialization, which certificates the advantages of AltScaledGD in LRMF.