How much restricted isometry is needed in nonconvex matrix recovery?

Richard Y. Zhang, Somayeh Sojoudi, Cédric Josz, Javad Lavaei

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


When the linear measurements of an instance of low-rank matrix recovery satisfy a restricted isometry property (RIP)-i.e. they are approximately norm-preserving-the problem is known to contain no spurious local minima, so exact recovery is guaranteed. In this paper, we show that moderate RIP is not enough to eliminate spurious local minima, so existing results can only hold for near-perfect RIP. In fact, counterexamples are ubiquitous: we prove that every x is the spurious local minimum of a rank-1 instance of matrix recovery that satisfies RIP. One specific counterexample has RIP constant δ = 1/2, but causes randomly initialized stochastic gradient descent (SGD) to fail 12% of the time. SGD is frequently able to avoid and escape spurious local minima, but this empirical result shows that it can occasionally be defeated by their existence. Hence, while exact recovery guarantees will likely require a proof of no spurious local minima, arguments based solely on norm preservation will only be applicable to a narrow set of nearly-isotropic instances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5586-5597
Number of pages12
JournalAdvances in Neural Information Processing Systems
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
Externally publishedYes
Event32nd Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2018 - Montreal, Canada
Duration: Dec 2 2018Dec 8 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems
  • Signal Processing


Dive into the research topics of 'How much restricted isometry is needed in nonconvex matrix recovery?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this