The problem of optimizing a quadratic form over an orthogonality constraint (QP-OC for short) is one of the most fundamental matrix optimization problems and arises in many applications. In this paper, we characterize the growth behavior of the objective function around the critical points of the QP-OC problem and demonstrate how such characterization can be used to obtain strong convergence rate results for iterative methods that exploit the manifold structure of the orthogonality constraint (i.e., the Stiefel manifold) to find a critical point of the problem. Specifically, our primary contribution is to show that the Łojasiewicz exponent at any critical point of the QP-OC problem is 1 / 2. Such a result is significant, as it expands the currently very limited repertoire of optimization problems for which the Łojasiewicz exponent is explicitly known. Moreover, it allows us to show, in a unified manner and for the first time, that a large family of retraction-based line-search methods will converge linearly to a critical point of the QP-OC problem. Then, as our secondary contribution, we propose a stochastic variance-reduced gradient (SVRG) method called Stiefel-SVRG for solving the QP-OC problem and present a novel Łojasiewicz inequality-based linear convergence analysis of the method. An important feature of Stiefel-SVRG is that it allows for general retractions and does not require the computation of any vector transport on the Stiefel manifold. As such, it is computationally more advantageous than other recently-proposed SVRG-type algorithms for manifold optimization.
Mathematical Programming – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 1, 2018