Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Computer Science

First Advisor

cheng, qiang


Nowadays, many real-world problems must deal with collections of high-dimensional data. High dimensional data usually have intrinsic low-dimensional representations, which are suited for subsequent analysis or processing. Therefore, finding low-dimensional representations is an essential step in many machine learning and data mining tasks. Low-rank and sparse modeling are emerging mathematical tools dealing with uncertainties of real-world data. Leveraging on the underlying structure of data, low-rank and sparse modeling approaches have achieved impressive performance in many data analysis tasks. Since the general rank minimization problem is computationally NP-hard, the convex relaxation of original problem is often solved. One popular heuristic method is to use the nuclear norm to approximate the rank of a matrix. Despite the success of nuclear norm minimization in capturing the low intrinsic-dimensionality of data, the nuclear norm minimizes not only the rank, but also the variance of matrix and may not be a good approximation to the rank function in practical problems. To mitigate above issue, this thesis proposes several nonconvex functions to approximate the rank function. However, It is often difficult to solve nonconvex problem. In this thesis, an optimization framework for nonconvex problem is further developed. The effectiveness of this approach is examined on several important applications, including matrix completion, robust principle component analysis, clustering, and recommender systems. Another issue associated with current clustering methods is that they work in two separate steps including similarity matrix computation and subsequent spectral clustering. The learned similarity matrix may not be optimal for subsequent clustering. Therefore, a unified algorithm framework is developed in this thesis. To capture the nonlinear relations among data points, we formulate this method in kernel space. Furthermore, the obtained continuous spectral solutions could severely deviate from the true discrete cluster labels, a discrete transformation is further incorporated in our model. Finally, our framework can simultaneously learn similarity matrix, kernel, and discrete cluster labels. The performance of the proposed algorithms is established through extensive experiments. This framework can be easily extended to semi-supervised classification.




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