Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Theory Seminar

Bayesian estimation from few samples: community detection and related problems

Fang-Yi Yu

University of Michigan
Friday, October 20, 2017
10:30am - 11:30am
BBB 3901

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About the Event

I will present the recent paper by Hopkins and Steurer with the following abstract:

We propose an efficient meta-algorithm for Bayesian estimation problems that is based on low-degree polynomials, semidefinite programming, and tensor decomposition. The algorithm is inspired by recent lower bound constructions for sum-of-squares and related to the method of moments. Our focus is on sample complexity bounds that are as tight as possible (up to additive lower-order terms) and often achieve statistical thresholds or conjectured computational thresholds. Our algorithm recovers the best known bounds for community detection in the sparse stochastic block model, a widely-studied class of estimation problems for community detection in graphs. We obtain the first recovery guarantees for the mixed-membership stochastic block model (Airoldi et el.) in constant average degree graphs---up to what we conjecture to be the computational threshold for this model. We show that our algorithm exhibits a sharp computational threshold for the stochastic block model with multiple communities beyond the Kesten--Stigum bound---giving evidence that this task may require exponential time.

The basic strategy of our algorithm is strikingly simple: we compute the best-possible low-degree approximation for the moments of the posterior distribution of the parameters and use a robust tensor decomposition algorithm to recover the parameters from these approximate posterior moments

Additional Information

Sponsor(s): CSE

Open to: Public