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  1. We study the performance of linear solvers for graph Laplacians based on the combinatorial cycle adjustment methodology proposed by [Kelner-Orecchia-Sidford-Zhu STOC-13]. The approach finds a dual flow solution to this linear system through a sequence of flow adjustments along cycles. We study both data structure oriented and recursive methods for handling these adjustments. The primary difficulty faced by this approach, updating and querying long cycles, motivated us to study an important special case: instances where all cycles are formed by fundamental cycles on a length n path. Our methods demonstrate significant speedups over previous implementations, and are competitive with standard numerical routines.
  2. Recommender system data presents unique challenges to the data mining, machine learning, and algorithms communities. The high missing data rate, in combination with the large scale and high dimensionality that is typical of recommender systems data, requires new tools and methods for efficient data analysis. Here, we address the challenge of evaluating similarity between two users in a recommender system, where for each user only a small set of ratings is available. We present a new similarity score, that we call LiRa, based on a statistical model of user similarity, for large-scale, discrete valued data with many missing values. We show that this score, based on a ratio of likelihoods, is more effective at identifying similar users than traditional similarity scores in user-based collaborative filtering, such as the Pearson correlation coefficient. We argue that our approach has significant potential to improve both accuracy and scalability in collaborative filtering.
  3. The GraphBLAS standard (GraphBlas.org) is being developed to bring the potential of matrix-based graph algorithms to the broadest possible audience. Mathematically, the GraphBLAS defines a core set of matrix-based graph operations that can be used to implement a wide class of graph algorithms in a wide range of programming environments. This paper provides an introduction to the mathematics of the GraphBLAS. Graphs represent connections between vertices with edges. Matrices can represent a wide range of graphs using adjacency matrices or incidence matrices. Adjacency matrices are often easier to analyze while incidence matrices are often better for representing data. Fortunately, the two are easily connected by matrix multiplication. A key feature of matrix mathematics is that a very small number of matrix operations can be used to manipulate a very wide range of graphs. This composability of a small number of operations is the foundation of the GraphBLAS. A standard such as the GraphBLAS can only be effective if it has low performance overhead. Performance measurements of prototype GraphBLAS implementations indicate that the overhead is low.