Multi-task feature learning via efficient 2, 1-norm minimization
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The problem of joint feature selection across a group of related tasks has applications in many areas including biomedical informatics and computer vision. We consider the 2, 1-norm regularized regression model for joint feature selection from multiple tasks, which can be derived in the probabilistic framework by assuming a suitable prior from the exponential family. One appealing feature of the 2, 1-norm regularization is that it encourages multiple predictors to share similar sparsity patterns. However, the resulting optimization problem is challenging to solve due to the non-smoothness of the 2, 1-norm regularization. In this paper, we propose to accelerate the computation by reformulating it as two equivalent smooth convex optimization problems which are then solved via the Nesterov's method-an optimal first-order black-box method for smooth convex optimization. A key building block in solving the reformulations is the Euclidean projection. We show that the Euclidean projection for the first reformulation can be analytically computed, while the Euclidean projection for the second one can be computed in linear time. Empirical evaluations on several data sets verify the efficiency of the proposed algorithms.