Keywords: learning to learn, sparse parameter estimation, learning to optimize, algorithm unrolling, generalization bound
Abstract: Recovering sparse parameters from observational data is a fundamental problem in machine learning with wide applications. Many classic algorithms can solve this problem with theoretical guarantees, but their performances rely on choosing the correct hyperparameters. Besides, hand-designed algorithms do not fully exploit the particular problem distribution of interest. In this work, we propose a deep learning method for algorithm learning called PLISA (Provable Learning-based Iterative Sparse recovery Algorithm). PLISA is designed by unrolling a classic path-following algorithm for sparse recovery, with some components being more flexible and learnable. We theoretically show the improved recovery accuracy achievable by PLISA. Furthermore, we analyze the empirical Rademacher complexity of PLISA to characterize its generalization ability to solve new problems outside the training set. This paper contains novel theoretical contributions to the area of learning-based algorithms in the sense that (i) PLISA is generically applicable to a broad class of sparse estimation problems, (ii) generalization analysis has received less attention so far, and (iii) our analysis makes novel connections between the generalization ability and algorithmic properties such as stability and convergence of the unrolled algorithm, which leads to a tighter bound that can explain the empirical observations. The techniques could potentially be applied to analyze other learning-based algorithms in the literature.