A Hybrid Method of Combinatorial Search and Coordinate Descent for Discrete Optimization

22 Nov 2018  ·  Yuan Ganzhao, Shen Li, Zheng Wei-Shi ·

Discrete optimization is a central problem in mathematical optimization with a broad range of applications, among which binary optimization and sparse optimization are two common ones. However, these problems are NP-hard and thus difficult to solve in general... Combinatorial search methods such as branch-and-bound and exhaustive search find the global optimal solution but are confined to small-sized problems, while coordinate descent methods such as coordinate gradient descent are efficient but often suffer from poor local minima. In this paper, we consider a hybrid method that combines the effectiveness of combinatorial search and the efficiency of coordinate descent. Specifically, we consider random strategy or/and greedy strategy to select a subset of coordinates as the working set, and then perform global combinatorial search over the working set based on the original objective function. In addition, we provide some optimality analysis and convergence analysis for the proposed method. Our method finds stronger stationary points than existing methods. Finally, we demonstrate the efficacy of our method on some sparse optimization and binary optimization applications. As a result, our method achieves state-of-the-art performance in terms of accuracy. For example, our method generally outperforms the well-known orthogonal matching pursuit method in sparse optimization. Keywords: Sparsity Optimization, Binary Optimization, Coordinate Descent, Combinatorial Search, Discrete Optimization, Convergence Analysis. read more

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Optimization and Control