Safe Screening with Variational Inequalities and Its Application to Lasso


Jun Liu, Zheng Zhao, Jie Wang, Jieping Ye ;
Proceedings of the 31st International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 32(2):289-297, 2014.


Sparse learning techniques have been routinely used for feature selection as the resulting model usually has a small number of non-zero entries. Safe screening, which eliminates the features that are guaranteed to have zero coefficients for a certain value of the regularization parameter, is a technique for improving the computational efficiency. Safe screening is gaining increasing attention since 1) solving sparse learning formulations usually has a high computational cost especially when the number of features is large and 2) one needs to try several regularization parameters to select a suitable model. In this paper, we propose an approach called “Sasvi" (Safe screening with variational inequalities). Sasvi makes use of the variational inequality that provides the sufficient and necessary optimality condition for the dual problem. Several existing approaches for Lasso screening can be casted as relaxed versions of the proposed Sasvi, thus Sasvi provides a stronger safe screening rule. We further study the monotone properties of Sasvi for Lasso, based on which a sure removal regularization parameter can be identified for each feature. Experimental results on both synthetic and real data sets are reported to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed Sasvi for Lasso screening.

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