Asymmetry Helps: Eigenvalue and Eigenvector Analyses of Asymmetrically Perturbed Low-Rank Matrices


This paper is concerned with the interplay between statistical asymmetry and spectral methods. Suppose we are interested in estimating a rank-1 and symmetric matrix Mβ‹†βˆˆRnΓ—n\mathbf{M}^{\star}\in \mathbb{R}^{n\times n}, yet only a randomly perturbed version M\mathbf{M} is observed. The noise matrix Mβˆ’M⋆\mathbf{M}-\mathbf{M}^{\star} is composed of zero-mean independent (but not necessarily homoscedastic) entries and is, therefore, not symmetric in general. This might arise, for example, when we have two independent samples for each entry of M⋆\mathbf{M}^{\star} and arrange them into an {\em asymmetric} data matrix M\mathbf{M}. The aim is to estimate the leading eigenvalue and eigenvector of M⋆\mathbf{M}^{\star}. We demonstrate that the leading eigenvalue of the data matrix M\mathbf{M} can be O(n)O(\sqrt{n}) times more accurate --- up to some log factor --- than its (unadjusted) leading singular value in eigenvalue estimation. Further, the perturbation of any linear form of the leading eigenvector of M\mathbf{M} --- say, entrywise eigenvector perturbation --- is provably well-controlled. This eigen-decomposition approach is fully adaptive to heteroscedasticity of noise without the need of careful bias correction or any prior knowledge about the noise variance. We also provide partial theory for the more general rank-rr case. The takeaway message is this: arranging the data samples in an asymmetric manner and performing eigen-decomposition could sometimes be beneficial.Comment: accepted to Annals of Statistics, 2020. 37 page

    Similar works

    Full text


    Available Versions