Research papers and code for "Eugene Ndiaye":

In high dimensional regression settings, sparsity enforcing penalties have proved useful to regularize the data-fitting term. A recently introduced technique called screening rules propose to ignore some variables in the optimization leveraging the expected sparsity of the solutions and consequently leading to faster solvers. When the procedure is guaranteed not to discard variables wrongly the rules are said to be safe. In this work, we propose a unifying framework for generalized linear models regularized with standard sparsity enforcing penalties such as $\ell_1$ or $\ell_1/\ell_2$ norms. Our technique allows to discard safely more variables than previously considered safe rules, particularly for low regularization parameters. Our proposed Gap Safe rules (so called because they rely on duality gap computation) can cope with any iterative solver but are particularly well suited to (block) coordinate descent methods. Applied to many standard learning tasks, Lasso, Sparse-Group Lasso, multi-task Lasso, binary and multinomial logistic regression, etc., we report significant speed-ups compared to previously proposed safe rules on all tested data sets.

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In high dimensional settings, sparse structures are crucial for efficiency, either in term of memory, computation or performance. In some contexts, it is natural to handle more refined structures than pure sparsity, such as for instance group sparsity. Sparse-Group Lasso has recently been introduced in the context of linear regression to enforce sparsity both at the feature level and at the group level. We adapt to the case of Sparse-Group Lasso recent safe screening rules that discard early in the solver irrelevant features/groups. Such rules have led to important speed-ups for a wide range of iterative methods. Thanks to dual gap computations, we provide new safe screening rules for Sparse-Group Lasso and show significant gains in term of computing time for a coordinate descent implementation.

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High dimensional regression benefits from sparsity promoting regularizations. Screening rules leverage the known sparsity of the solution by ignoring some variables in the optimization, hence speeding up solvers. When the procedure is proven not to discard features wrongly the rules are said to be \emph{safe}. In this paper we derive new safe rules for generalized linear models regularized with $\ell_1$ and $\ell_1/\ell_2$ norms. The rules are based on duality gap computations and spherical safe regions whose diameters converge to zero. This allows to discard safely more variables, in particular for low regularization parameters. The GAP Safe rule can cope with any iterative solver and we illustrate its performance on coordinate descent for multi-task Lasso, binary and multinomial logistic regression, demonstrating significant speed ups on all tested datasets with respect to previous safe rules.

* in Proceedings of the 29-th Conference on Neural Information
Processing Systems (NIPS), 2015

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Popular machine learning estimators involve regularization parameters that can be challenging to tune, and standard strategies rely on grid search for this task. In this paper, we revisit the techniques of approximating the regularization path up to predefined tolerance $\epsilon$ in a unified framework and show that its complexity is $O(1/\sqrt[d]{\epsilon})$ for uniformly convex loss of order $d>0$ and $O(1/\sqrt{\epsilon})$ for Generalized Self-Concordant functions. This framework encompasses least-squares but also logistic regression (a case that as far as we know was not handled as precisely by previous works). We leverage our technique to provide refined bounds on the validation error as well as a practical algorithm for hyperparameter tuning. The later has global convergence guarantee when targeting a prescribed accuracy on the validation set. Last but not least, our approach helps relieving the practitioner from the (often neglected) task of selecting a stopping criterion when optimizing over the training set: our method automatically calibrates it based on the targeted accuracy on the validation set.

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In high dimensional settings, sparse structures are crucial for efficiency, both in term of memory, computation and performance. It is customary to consider $\ell_1$ penalty to enforce sparsity in such scenarios. Sparsity enforcing methods, the Lasso being a canonical example, are popular candidates to address high dimension. For efficiency, they rely on tuning a parameter trading data fitting versus sparsity. For the Lasso theory to hold this tuning parameter should be proportional to the noise level, yet the latter is often unknown in practice. A possible remedy is to jointly optimize over the regression parameter as well as over the noise level. This has been considered under several names in the literature: Scaled-Lasso, Square-root Lasso, Concomitant Lasso estimation for instance, and could be of interest for confidence sets or uncertainty quantification. In this work, after illustrating numerical difficulties for the Smoothed Concomitant Lasso formulation, we propose a modification we coined Smoothed Concomitant Lasso, aimed at increasing numerical stability. We propose an efficient and accurate solver leading to a computational cost no more expansive than the one for the Lasso. We leverage on standard ingredients behind the success of fast Lasso solvers: a coordinate descent algorithm, combined with safe screening rules to achieve speed efficiency, by eliminating early irrelevant features.

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