skip to main content


Title: On Learning Ising Models under Huber's Contamination Model
We study the problem of learning Ising models in a setting where some of the samples from the underlying distribution can be arbitrarily corrupted. In such a setup, we aim to design statistically optimal estimators in a high-dimensional scaling in which the number of nodes p, the number of edges k and the maximal node degree d are allowed to increase to infinity as a function of the sample size n. Our analysis is based on exploiting moments of the underlying distribution, coupled with novel reductions to univariate estimation. Our proposed estimators achieve an optimal dimension independent dependence on the fraction of corrupted data in the contaminated setting, while also simultaneously achieving high-probability error guarantees with optimal sample-complexity. We corroborate our theoretical results by simulations.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1955532
NSF-PAR ID:
10222690
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Advances in neural information processing systems
Volume:
33
ISSN:
1049-5258
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. We consider the problem of accurately recovering a matrix B of size M by M, which represents a probability distribution over M^2 outcomes, given access to an observed matrix of "counts" generated by taking independent samples from the distribution B. How can structural properties of the underlying matrix B be leveraged to yield computationally efficient and information theoretically optimal reconstruction algorithms? When can accurate reconstruction be accomplished in the sparse data regime? This basic problem lies at the core of a number of questions that are currently being considered by different communities, including building recommendation systems and collaborative filtering in the sparse data regime, community detection in sparse random graphs, learning structured models such as topic models or hidden Markov models, and the efforts from the natural language processing community to compute "word embeddings". Many aspects of this problem---both in terms of learning and property testing/estimation and on both the algorithmic and information theoretic sides---remain open. Our results apply to the setting where B has a low rank structure. For this setting, we propose an efficient (and practically viable) algorithm that accurately recovers the underlying M by M matrix using O(M) samples} (where we assume the rank is a constant). This linear sample complexity is optimal, up to constant factors, in an extremely strong sense: even testing basic properties of the underlying matrix (such as whether it has rank 1 or 2) requires Omega(M) samples. Additionally, we provide an even stronger lower bound showing that distinguishing whether a sequence of observations were drawn from the uniform distribution over M observations versus being generated by a well-conditioned Hidden Markov Model with two hidden states requires Omega(M) observations, while our positive results for recovering B immediately imply that Omega(M) observations suffice to learn such an HMM. This lower bound precludes sublinear-sample hypothesis tests for basic properties, such as identity or uniformity, as well as sublinear sample estimators for quantities such as the entropy rate of HMMs. 
    more » « less
  2. We study high-dimensional sparse estimation tasks in a robust setting where a constant fraction of the dataset is adversarially corrupted. Specifically, we focus on the fundamental problems of robust sparse mean estimation and robust sparse PCA. We give the first practically viable robust estimators for these problems. In more detail, our algorithms are sample and computationally efficient and achieve near-optimal robustness guarantees. In contrast to prior provable algorithms which relied on the ellipsoid method, our algorithms use spectral techniques to iteratively remove outliers from the dataset. Our experimental evaluation on synthetic data shows that our algorithms are scalable and significantly outperform a range of previous approaches, nearly matching the best error rate without corruptions. 
    more » « less
  3. null (Ed.)
    This paper is devoted to the estimators of the mean that provide strong non-asymptotic guarantees under minimal assumptions on the underlying distribution. The main ideas behind proposed techniques are based on bridging the notions of symmetry and robustness. We show that existing methods, such as median-of-means and Catoni‚Äôs estimators, can often be viewed as special cases of our construction. The main contribution of the paper is the proof of uniform bounds for the deviations of the stochastic process defined by proposed estimators. Moreover, we extend our results to the case of adversarial contamination where a constant fraction of the observations is arbitrarily corrupted. Finally, we apply our methods to the problem of robust multivariate mean estimation and show that obtained inequalities achieve optimal dependence on the proportion of corrupted samples. 
    more » « less
  4. We propose and analyze a new estimator of the covariance matrix that admits strong theoretical guarantees under weak assumptions on the underlying distribution, such as existence of moments of only low order. While estimation of covariance matrices corresponding to sub-Gaussian distributions is well-understood, much less in known in the case of heavy-tailed data. As K. Balasubramanian and M. Yuan write, "data from real-world experiments oftentimes tend to be corrupted with outliers and/or exhibit heavy tails. In such cases, it is not clear that those covariance matrix estimators .. remain optimal" and "what are the other possible strategies to deal with heavy tailed distributions warrant further studies." We make a step towards answering this question and prove tight deviation inequalities for the proposed estimator that depend only on the parameters controlling the intrinsic dimension'' associated to the covariance matrix (as opposed to the dimension of the ambient space); in particular, our results are applicable in the case of high-dimensional observations. 
    more » « less
  5. We study the relationship between adversarial robustness and differential privacy in high-dimensional algorithmic statistics. We give the first black-box reduction from privacy to robustness which can produce private estimators with optimal tradeoffs among sample complexity, accuracy, and privacy for a wide range of fundamental high-dimensional parameter estimation problems, including mean and covariance estimation. We show that this reduction can be implemented in polynomial time in some important special cases. In particular, using nearly-optimal polynomial-time robust estimators for the mean and covariance of high-dimensional Gaussians which are based on the Sum-of-Squares method, we design the first polynomial-time private estimators for these problems with nearly-optimal samples-accuracy-privacy tradeoffs. Our algorithms are also robust to a nearly optimal fraction of adversarially-corrupted samples. 
    more » « less