Hybrid Conditional Gradient - Smoothing Algorithms with Applications to Sparse and Low Rank Regularization

Andreas Argyriou, Marco Signoretto, Johan Suykens

We study a hybrid conditional gradient - smoothing algorithm (HCGS) for solving composite convex optimization problems which contain several terms over a bounded set. Examples of these include regularization problems with several norms as penalties and a norm constraint. HCGS extends conditional gradient methods to cases with multiple nonsmooth terms, in which standard conditional gradient methods may be difficult to apply. The HCGS algorithm borrows techniques from smoothing proximal methods and requires first-order computations (subgradients and proximity operations). Unlike proximal methods, HCGS benefits from the advantages of conditional gradient methods, which render it more efficient on certain large scale optimization problems. We demonstrate these advantages with simulations on two matrix optimization problems: regularization of matrices with combined $\ell_1$ and trace norm penalties; and a convex relaxation of sparse PCA.

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