Near-separable Non-negative Matrix Factorization with $\ell_1$- and Bregman Loss Functions

Abhishek Kumar, Vikas Sindhwani

Recently, a family of tractable NMF algorithms have been proposed under the assumption that the data matrix satisfies a separability condition Donoho & Stodden (2003); Arora et al. (2012). Geometrically, this condition reformulates the NMF problem as that of finding the extreme rays of the conical hull of a finite set of vectors. In this paper, we develop several extensions of the conical hull procedures of Kumar et al. (2013) for robust ($\ell_1$) approximations and Bregman divergences. Our methods inherit all the advantages of Kumar et al. (2013) including scalability and noise-tolerance. We show that on foreground-background separation problems in computer vision, robust near-separable NMFs match the performance of Robust PCA, considered state of the art on these problems, with an order of magnitude faster training time. We also demonstrate applications in exemplar selection settings.

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