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Abstract:Graph clustering is a central topic in unsupervised learning with a multitude of practical applications. In recent years, multi-view graph clustering has gained a lot of attention for its applicability to real-world instances where one has access to multiple data sources. In this paper we formalize a new family of models, called \textit{multi-view stochastic block models} that captures this setting. For this model, we first study efficient algorithms that naively work on the union of multiple graphs. Then, we introduce a new efficient algorithm that provably outperforms previous approaches by analyzing the structure of each graph separately. Furthermore, we complement our results with an information-theoretic lower bound studying the limits of what can be done in this model. Finally, we corroborate our results with experimental evaluations.

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Abstract:We consider estimation models of the form $Y=X^*+N$, where $X^*$ is some $m$-dimensional signal we wish to recover, and $N$ is symmetrically distributed noise that may be unbounded in all but a small $\alpha$ fraction of the entries. We introduce a family of algorithms that under mild assumptions recover the signal $X^*$ in all estimation problems for which there exists a sum-of-squares algorithm that succeeds in recovering the signal $X^*$ when the noise $N$ is Gaussian. This essentially shows that it is enough to design a sum-of-squares algorithm for an estimation problem with Gaussian noise in order to get the algorithm that works with the symmetric noise model. Our framework extends far beyond previous results on symmetric noise models and is even robust to adversarial perturbations. As concrete examples, we investigate two problems for which no efficient algorithms were known to work for heavy-tailed noise: tensor PCA and sparse PCA. For the former, our algorithm recovers the principal component in polynomial time when the signal-to-noise ratio is at least $\tilde{O}(n^{p/4}/\alpha)$, that matches (up to logarithmic factors) current best known algorithmic guarantees for Gaussian noise. For the latter, our algorithm runs in quasipolynomial time and matches the state-of-the-art guarantees for quasipolynomial time algorithms in the case of Gaussian noise. Using a reduction from the planted clique problem, we provide evidence that the quasipolynomial time is likely to be necessary for sparse PCA with symmetric noise. In our proofs we use bounds on the covering numbers of sets of pseudo-expectations, which we obtain by certifying in sum-of-squares upper bounds on the Gaussian complexities of sets of solutions. This approach for bounding the covering numbers of sets of pseudo-expectations may be interesting in its own right and may find other application in future works.

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Abstract:We give tight statistical query (SQ) lower bounds for learnining halfspaces in the presence of Massart noise. In particular, suppose that all labels are corrupted with probability at most $\eta$. We show that for arbitrary $\eta \in [0,1/2]$ every SQ algorithm achieving misclassification error better than $\eta$ requires queries of superpolynomial accuracy or at least a superpolynomial number of queries. Further, this continues to hold even if the information-theoretically optimal error $\mathrm{OPT}$ is as small as $\exp\left(-\log^c(d)\right)$, where $d$ is the dimension and $0 < c < 1$ is an arbitrary absolute constant, and an overwhelming fraction of examples are noiseless. Our lower bound matches known polynomial time algorithms, which are also implementable in the SQ framework. Previously, such lower bounds only ruled out algorithms achieving error $\mathrm{OPT} + \epsilon$ or error better than $\Omega(\eta)$ or, if $\eta$ is close to $1/2$, error $\eta - o_\eta(1)$, where the term $o_\eta(1)$ is constant in $d$ but going to 0 for $\eta$ approaching $1/2$. As a consequence, we also show that achieving misclassification error better than $1/2$ in the $(A,\alpha)$-Tsybakov model is SQ-hard for $A$ constant and $\alpha$ bounded away from 1.

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Abstract:We develop an efficient algorithm for weak recovery in a robust version of the stochastic block model. The algorithm matches the statistical guarantees of the best known algorithms for the vanilla version of the stochastic block model. In this sense, our results show that there is no price of robustness in the stochastic block model. Our work is heavily inspired by recent work of Banks, Mohanty, and Raghavendra (SODA 2021) that provided an efficient algorithm for the corresponding distinguishing problem. Our algorithm and its analysis significantly depart from previous ones for robust recovery. A key challenge is the peculiar optimization landscape underlying our algorithm: The planted partition may be far from optimal in the sense that completely unrelated solutions could achieve the same objective value. This phenomenon is related to the push-out effect at the BBP phase transition for PCA. To the best of our knowledge, our algorithm is the first to achieve robust recovery in the presence of such a push-out effect in a non-asymptotic setting. Our algorithm is an instantiation of a framework based on convex optimization (related to but distinct from sum-of-squares), which may be useful for other robust matrix estimation problems. A by-product of our analysis is a general technique that boosts the probability of success (over the randomness of the input) of an arbitrary robust weak-recovery algorithm from constant (or slowly vanishing) probability to exponentially high probability.

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Abstract:We develop machinery to design efficiently computable and consistent estimators, achieving estimation error approaching zero as the number of observations grows, when facing an oblivious adversary that may corrupt responses in all but an $\alpha$ fraction of the samples. As concrete examples, we investigate two problems: sparse regression and principal component analysis (PCA). For sparse regression, we achieve consistency for optimal sample size $n\gtrsim (k\log d)/\alpha^2$ and optimal error rate $O(\sqrt{(k\log d)/(n\cdot \alpha^2)})$ where $n$ is the number of observations, $d$ is the number of dimensions and $k$ is the sparsity of the parameter vector, allowing the fraction of inliers to be inverse-polynomial in the number of samples. Prior to this work, no estimator was known to be consistent when the fraction of inliers $\alpha$ is $o(1/\log \log n)$, even for (non-spherical) Gaussian design matrices. Results holding under weak design assumptions and in the presence of such general noise have only been shown in dense setting (i.e., general linear regression) very recently by d'Orsi et al. [dNS21]. In the context of PCA, we attain optimal error guarantees under broad spikiness assumptions on the parameter matrix (usually used in matrix completion). Previous works could obtain non-trivial guarantees only under the assumptions that the measurement noise corresponding to the inliers is polynomially small in $n$ (e.g., Gaussian with variance $1/n^2$). To devise our estimators, we equip the Huber loss with non-smooth regularizers such as the $\ell_1$ norm or the nuclear norm, and extend d'Orsi et al.'s approach [dNS21] in a novel way to analyze the loss function. Our machinery appears to be easily applicable to a wide range of estimation problems.

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