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  1. Semidefinite programs (SDP) are a staple of today’s systems theory, with applications ranging from robust control to systems identification. However, current state-of-the art solution methods have poor scaling properties, and thus are limited to relatively moderate size problems. Recently, several approximations have been proposed where the original SDP is relaxed to a sequence of lower complexity problems (such as linear programs (LPs) or second order cone programs (SOCPs)). While successful in many cases, there is no guarantee that these relaxations converge to the global optimum of the original program. Indeed, examples exists where these relaxations "get stuck" at suboptimal solutions. To circumvent this difficulty in this paper we propose an algorithm to solve SDPs based on solving a sequence of LPs or SOCPs, guaranteed to converge in a finite number of steps to an ε-suboptimal solution of the original problem. We further provide a bound on the number of steps required, as a function of ε and the problem data.
  2. Semidefinite programs (SDPs) often arise in relaxations of some NP-hard problems, and if the solution of the SDP obeys certain rank constraints, the relaxation will be tight. Decomposition methods based on chordal sparsity have already been applied to speed up the solution of sparse SDPs, but methods for dealing with rank constraints are underdeveloped. This paper leverages a minimum rank completion result to decompose the rank constraint on a single large matrix into multiple rank constraints on a set of smaller matrices. The re-weighted heuristic is used as a proxy for rank, and the specific form of the heuristic preserves the sparsity pattern between iterations. Implementations of rank-minimized SDPs through interior-point and first-order algorithms are discussed. The problem of subspace clustering is used to demonstrate the computational improvement of the proposed method.