I-LAMM for sparse learning: Simultaneous control of algorithmic complexity and statistical error

Jianqing Fan, Han Liu, Qiang Sun, Tong Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


We propose a computational framework named iterative local adaptive majorize-minimization (I-LAMM) to simultaneously control algorithmic complexity and statistical error when fitting high-dimensional models. I-LAMM is a two-stage algorithmic implementation of the local linear approximation to a family of folded concave penalized quasi-likelihood. The first stage solves a convex program with a crude precision tolerance to obtain a coarse initial estimator, which is further refined in the second stage by iteratively solving a sequence of convex programs with smaller precision tolerances. Theoretically, we establish a phase transition: the first stage has a sublinear iteration complexity, while the second stage achieves an improved linear rate of convergence. Though this framework is completely algorithmic, it provides solutions with optimal statistical performances and controlled algorithmic complexity for a large family of nonconvex optimization problems. The iteration effects on statistical errors are clearly demonstrated via a contraction property. Our theory relies on a localized version of the sparse/restricted eigenvalue condition, which allows us to analyze a large family of loss and penalty functions and provide optimality guarantees under very weak assumptions (e.g., I-LAMM requires much weaker minimal signal strength than other procedures). Thorough numerical results are provided to support the obtained theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)814-841
Number of pages28
JournalAnnals of Statistics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty


  • Algorithmic statistics
  • Iteration complexity
  • Local adaptive MM
  • Nonconvex statistical optimization
  • Optimal rate of convergence


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