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Non-negative least squares for high-dimensional linear models: consistency and sparse recovery without regularization. (English) Zbl 1280.62086
Summary: Least squares fitting is in general not useful for high-dimensional linear models, in which the number of predictors is of the same or even of larger order of magnitude than the number of samples. Theory developed in recent years has coined a paradigm according to which sparsity-promoting regularization is regarded as a necessity in such setting. Deviating from this paradigm, we show that non-negativity constraints on the regression coefficients may be similarly effective as explicit regularization if the design matrix has additional properties, which are met in several applications of non-negative least squares (NNLS). We show that for these designs, the performance of NNLS with regard to prediction and estimation is comparable to that of the lasso. We argue further that in specific cases, NNLS may have a better \(\ell_\infty\)-rate in estimation and hence also advantages with respect to support recovery when combined with thresholding. From a practical point of view, NNLS does not depend on a regularization parameter and is hence easier to use.

MSC:
62J05 Linear regression; mixed models
62H12 Estimation in multivariate analysis
62F12 Asymptotic properties of parametric estimators
Software:
NNLS
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