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A Completely Tuning-Free and Robust Approach to Sparse Precision Matrix Estimation

Chau Tran · Guo Yu

Hall E #716

Keywords: [ PM: Structure Learning ] [ PM: Graphical Models ]


Despite the vast literature on sparse Gaussian graphical models, current methods either are asymptotically tuning-free (which still require fine-tuning in practice) or hinge on computationally expensive methods (e.g., cross-validation) to determine the proper level of regularization. We propose a completely tuning-free approach for estimating sparse Gaussian graphical models. Our method uses model-agnostic regularization parameters to estimate each column of the target precision matrix and enjoys several desirable properties. Computationally, our estimator can be computed efficiently by linear programming. Theoretically, the proposed estimator achieves minimax optimal convergence rates under various norms. We further propose a second-stage enhancement with non-convex penalties which possesses the strong oracle property. Through comprehensive numerical studies, our methods demonstrate favorable statistical performance. Remarkably, our methods exhibit strong robustness to the violation of the Gaussian assumption and significantly outperform competing methods in the heavy-tailed settings.

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