Sparse Matrix Inversion with Scaled Lasso

Tingni Sun, Cun-Hui Zhang.

Year: 2013, Volume: 14, Issue: 70, Pages: 3385−3418


We propose a new method of learning a sparse nonnegative- definite target matrix. Our primary example of the target matrix is the inverse of a population covariance or correlation matrix. The algorithm first estimates each column of the target matrix by the scaled Lasso and then adjusts the matrix estimator to be symmetric. The penalty level of the scaled Lasso for each column is completely determined by data via convex minimization, without using cross-validation.

We prove that this scaled Lasso method guarantees the fastest proven rate of convergence in the spectrum norm under conditions of weaker form than those in the existing analyses of other $\ell_1$ regularized algorithms, and has faster guaranteed rate of convergence when the ratio of the $\ell_1$ and spectrum norms of the target inverse matrix diverges to infinity. A simulation study demonstrates the computational feasibility and superb performance of the proposed method.

Our analysis also provides new performance bounds for the Lasso and scaled Lasso to guarantee higher concentration of the error at a smaller threshold level than previous analyses, and to allow the use of the union bound in column-by-column applications of the scaled Lasso without an adjustment of the penalty level. In addition, the least squares estimation after the scaled Lasso selection is considered and proven to guarantee performance bounds similar to that of the scaled Lasso.