Kronecker Determinantal Point Processes

05/26/2016 ∙ by Zelda Mariet, et al. ∙ MIT 0

Determinantal Point Processes (DPPs) are probabilistic models over all subsets a ground set of N items. They have recently gained prominence in several applications that rely on "diverse" subsets. However, their applicability to large problems is still limited due to the O(N^3) complexity of core tasks such as sampling and learning. We enable efficient sampling and learning for DPPs by introducing KronDPP, a DPP model whose kernel matrix decomposes as a tensor product of multiple smaller kernel matrices. This decomposition immediately enables fast exact sampling. But contrary to what one may expect, leveraging the Kronecker product structure for speeding up DPP learning turns out to be more difficult. We overcome this challenge, and derive batch and stochastic optimization algorithms for efficiently learning the parameters of a KronDPP.



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1 Introduction

Determinantal Point Processes (DPPs) are discrete probability models over the subsets of a ground set of

items. They provide an elegant model to assign probabilities to an exponentially large sample, while permitting tractable (polynomial time) sampling and marginalization. They are often used to provide models that balance “diversity” and quality, characteristics valuable to numerous problems in machine learning and related areas 

(Kulesza and Taskar, 2012).

The antecedents of DPPs lie in statistical mechanics (Macchi, 1975), but since the seminal work of (Kulesza, 2013) they have made inroads into machine learning. By now they have been applied to a variety of problems such as document and video summarization (Lin and Bilmes, 2012; Chao et al., 2015), sensor placement (Krause et al., 2008), recommender systems (Zhou et al., 2010), and object retrieval (Affandi et al., 2014)

. More recently, they have been used to compress fully-connected layers in neural networks 

(Mariet and Sra, 2016) and to provide optimal sampling procedures for the Nyström method (Li et al., 2016). The more general study of DPP properties has also garnered a significant amount of interest, see e.g., (Hough et al., 2006; Kulesza and Taskar, 2011, 2012; Affandi et al., 2013; Decreusefond et al., 2015; Lavancier et al., 2015; Borodin, 2009; Lyons, 2003).

However, despite their elegance and tractability, widespread adoption of DPPs is impeded by the cost of basic tasks such as (exact) sampling (Hough et al., 2006; Kulesza and Taskar, 2012) and learning (Hough et al., 2006; Kulesza and Taskar, 2012; Gillenwater et al., 2014; Mariet and Sra, 2015). This cost has motivated a string of recent works on approximate sampling methods such as MCMC samplers (Kang, 2013; Li et al., 2016) or core-set based samplers (Li et al., 2015). The task of learning a DPP from data has received less attention; the methods of (Gillenwater et al., 2014; Mariet and Sra, 2015) cost per iteration, which is clearly unacceptable for realistic settings. This burden is partially ameliorated in (Gartrell et al., 2016), who restrict to learning low-rank DPPs, though at the expense of being unable to sample subsets larger than the chosen rank.

These considerations motivate us to introduce KronDpp, a DPP model that uses Kronecker (tensor) product kernels. As a result, KronDpp enables us to learn large sized DPP kernels, while also permitting efficient (exact and approximate) sampling. The use of Kronecker products to scale matrix models is a popular and effective idea in several machine-learning settings (Wu et al., 2005; Martens and Grosse, 2015; Flaxman et al., 2015; Zhang et al., 2015). But as we will see, its efficient execution for DPPs turns out to be surprisingly challenging.

To make our discussion more concrete, we recall some basic facts now. Suppose we have a ground set of items . A discrete DPP over is a probability measure on parametrized by a positive definite matrix (the marginal kernel) such that , so that for any drawn from , the measure satisfies


where is the submatrix of indexed by elements in (i.e., ). If a DPP with marginal kernel assigns nonzero probability to the empty set, the DPP can alternatively be parametrized by a positive definite matrix (the DPP kernel) so that


A brief manipulation (see e.g., (Kulesza and Taskar, 2012, Eq. 15)) shows that when the inverse exists, . The determinants, such as in the normalization constant in (2), make operations over DPPs typically cost , which is a key impediment to their scalability.

Therefore, if we consider a class of DPP kernels whose structure makes it easy to compute determinants, we should be able to scale up DPPs. An alternative approach towards scalability is to restrict the size of the subsets, as done in -DPP (Kulesza and Taskar, 2011) or when using rank- DPP kernels (Gartrell et al., 2016) (where ). Both these approaches still require preprocessing for exact sampling; another caveat is that they limit the DPP model by assigning zero probabilities to sets of cardinality greater than .

In contrast, KronDpp uses a kernel matrix of the form , where each sub-kernel is a smaller positive definite matrix. This decomposition has two key advantages: (i) it significantly lowers the number of parameters required to specify the DPP from to (assuming the sub-kernels are roughly the same size); and (ii) it enables fast sampling and learning.

For ease of exposition, we describe specific details of KronDpp for ; as will become clear from the analysis, typically the special cases and should suffice to obtain low-complexity sampling and learning algorithms.


Our main contribution is the KronDpp model along with efficient algorithms for sampling from it and learning a Kronecker factored kernel. Specifically, inspired by the algorithm of (Mariet and Sra, 2015), we develop KrK-Picard (Kronecker-K

ernel Picard), a block-coordinate ascent procedure that generates a sequence of Kronecker factored estimates of the DPP kernel while ensuring monotonic progress on its (difficult, nonconvex) objective function. More importantly, we show how to implement

KrK-Picard to run in time when implemented as a batch method, and in time and space, when implemented as a stochastic method. As alluded to above, unlike many other uses of Kronecker models, KronDpp does not admit trivial scaling up, largely due to extensive dependence of DPPs on arbitrary submatrices of the DPP kernel. An interesting theoretical nugget that arises from our analysis is the combinatorial problem that we call subset clustering, a problem whose (even approximate) solution can lead to further speedups of our algorithms.

2 Preliminaries

We begin by recalling basic properties of Kronecker products needed in our analysis; we omit proofs of these well-known results for brevity. The Kronecker (tensor) product of with two matrices is defined as the block matrix .

We denote the block in by for any valid pair , and extend the notation to non-Kronecker product matrices to indicate the submatrix of size at position .

Proposition 2.1.

Let be matrices of sizes so that and are well-defined. Then,

  1. If , then, ;

  2. If and are invertible then so is , with ;

  3. = .

An important consequence of Prop. 2.1 is the following corollary.

Corollary 2.2.

Let and

be the eigenvector decompositions of

and . Then, diagonalizes as .

We will also need the notion of partial trace operators, which are perhaps less well-known:

Definition 2.3.

Let . The partial traces and are defined as follows:

The action of partial traces is easy to visualize: indeed, and . For us, the most important property of partial trace operators is their positivity.

Proposition 2.4.

and are positive operators, i.e., for , and .


Please refer to (Bhatia, 2007, Chap. 4). ∎

3 Learning the kernel matrix for KronDpp

In this section, we consider the key difficult task for KronDpps: learning a Kronecker product kernel matrix from observed subsets . Using the definition (2) of , maximum-likelihood learning of a DPP with kernel results in the optimization problem:


This problem is nonconvex and conjectured to be NP-hard (Kulesza, 2013, Conjecture 4.1). Moreover the constraint is nontrivial to handle. Writing as the indicator matrix for of size so that , the gradient of is easily seen to be


In (Mariet and Sra, 2015), the authors derived an iterative method (“the Picard iteration”) for computing an that solves by running the simple iteration


Moreover, iteration (5) is guaranteed to monotonically increase the log-likelihood  (Mariet and Sra, 2015). But these benefits accrue at a cost of per iteration, and furthermore a direct application of (5) cannot guarantee the Kronecker structure required by KronDpp.

3.1 Optimization algorithm

Our aim is to obtain an efficient algorithm to (locally) optimize (3). Beyond its nonconvexity, the Kronecker structure imposes another constraint. As in (Mariet and Sra, 2015) we first rewrite as a function of , and re-arrange terms to write it as


It is easy to see that is concave, while a short argument shows that is convex (Mariet and Sra, 2015). An appeal to the convex-concave procedure (Yuille and Rangarajan, 2002) then shows that updating by solving , which is what  (5) does (Mariet and Sra, 2015, Thm. 2.2), is guaranteed to monotonically increase .

But for KronDpp this idea does not apply so easily: due the constraint the function

fails to be convex, precluding an easy generalization. Nevertheless, for fixed or the functions

are once again concave or convex. Indeed, the map is linear and is concave, and is also concave; similarly, is seen to be concave and and are convex. Hence, by generalizing the arguments of (Yuille and Rangarajan, 2002, Thm. 2) to our “block-coordinate” setting, updating via


should increase the log-likelihood at each iteration. We prove below that this is indeed the case, and that updating as per (7) ensure positive definiteness of the iterates as well as monotonic ascent.

3.1.1 Positive definite iterates and ascent

In order to show the positive definiteness of the solutions to (7), we first derive their closed form.

Proposition 3.1 (Positive definite iterates).

For , , the solutions to (7) are given by the following expressions:

Moreover, these solutions are positive definite.


The details are somewhat technical, and are hence given in Appendix A. We know that , because . Since the partial trace operators are positive (Prop. 2.4), it follows that the solutions to  (7) are also positive definite. ∎

We are now ready to establish that these updates ensure monotonic ascent in the log-likelihood.

Theorem 3.2 (Ascent).

Starting with , , updating according to  (7) generates positive definite iterates and , and the sequence is non-decreasing.


Updating according to  (7) generates positive definite matrices , and hence positive definite subkernels . Moreover, due to the convexity of and concavity of , for matrices

Hence, .

Thus, if verify (7), by setting and we have

The same reasoning holds for , which proves the theorem. ∎

As (and similarly for ), updating as in (7) is equivalent to updating

Genearlization. We can generalize the updates to take an additional step-size parameter :

Experimentally, (as long as the updates remain positive definite) can provide faster convergence, although the monotonicity of the log-likelihood is no longer guaranteed. We found experimentally that the range of admissible is larger than for Picard, but decreases as grows larger.

The arguments above easily generalize to the multiblock case. Thus, when learning , by writing the matrix with a 1 in position and zeros elsewhere, we update as

From the above updates it is not transparent whether the Kronecker product saves us any computation. In particular, it is not clear whether the updates can be implemented to run faster than . We show below in the next section how to implement these updates efficiently.

3.1.2 Algorithm and complexity analysis

From Theorem 3.2, we obtain Algorithm 1 (which is different from the Picard iteration in (Mariet and Sra, 2015), because it operates alternatingly on each subkernel). It is important to note that a further speedup to Algorithm 1 can be obtained by performing stochastic updates, i.e., instead of computing the full gradient of the log-likelihood, we perform our updates using only one (or a small minibatch) subset at each step instead of iterating over the entire training set; this uses the stochastic gradient .

  Input: Matrices , training set , parameter .
  for  to maxIter do
        // or update stochastically
       // or update stochastically
  end forreturn
Algorithm 1 KrK-Picard iteration

The crucial strength of Algorithm 1 lies in the following result:

Theorem 3.3 (Complexity).

For , the updates in Algorithm 1 can be computed in time and space, where is the size of the largest training subset. Furthermore, stochastic updates can be computed in time and space.

Indeed, by leveraging the properties of the Kronecker product, the updates can be obtained without computing . This result is non-trivial: the components of , and , must be considered separately for computational efficiency. The proof is provided in App. B. However, it seems that considering more than 2 subkernels does not lead to further speed-ups.

If , these complexities become:

  • for non-stochastic updates: time, space,

  • for stochastic updates: time, space.

This is a marked improvement over (Mariet and Sra, 2015), which runs in space and time (non-stochastic) or time (stochastic); Algorithm 1 also provides faster stochastic updates than (Gartrell et al., 2016). However, one may wonder if by learning the sub-kernels by alternating updates the log-likelihood converges to a sub-optimal limit. The next section discusses how to jointly update and .

3.2 Joint updates

We also analyzed the possibility of updating and jointly: we update and then recover the Kronecker structure of the kernel by defining the updates and such that:


We show in appendix C

that such solutions exist and can be computed by from the first singular value and vectors of the matrix

. Note however that in this case, there is no guaranteed increase in log-likelihood. The pseudocode for the related algorithm (Joint-Picard) is given in appendix C.1. An analysis similar to the proof of Thm. 3.3 shows that the updates can be obtained .

3.3 Memory-time trade-off

Although KronDpps have tractable learning algorithms, the memory requirements remain high for non-stochastic updates, as the matrix needs to be stored, requiring memory. However, if the training set can be subdivised such that


can be decomposed as with . Due to the bound in Eq. 9, each will be sparse, with only non-zero coefficients. We can then store each with minimal storage and update and in time and space.

Determining the existence of such a partition of size is a variant of the NP-Hard Subset-Union Knapsack Problem (SUKP) (Goldschmidt et al., 1994) with knapsacks and where the value of each item (i.e. each ) is equal to 1: a solution to SUKP of value with knapsacks is equivalent to a solution to 9. However, an approximate partition can also be simply constructed via a greedy algorithm.

4 Sampling

Sampling exactly (see Alg. 2 and (Kulesza and Taskar, 2012)) from a full DPP kernel costs where is the size of the sampled subset. The bulk of the computation lies in the initial eigendecomposition of ; the orthonormalizations cost . Although the eigendecomposition need only happen once for many iterations of sampling, exact sampling is nonetheless intractable in practice for large .

  Input: Matrix .
  Eigendecompose as .
  for  to  do
      with probability .
  end for
  while  do
     Sample from with probability
     , , where is an orthonormal basis of the subspace of orthonormal to
  end whilereturn
Algorithm 2 Sampling from a DPP kernel

It follows from Prop. 2.2 that for KronDpps

, the eigenvalues

can be obtained in , and the eigenvectors in operations. For , exact sampling thus only costs . If , the same reasoning shows that exact sampling becomes linear in , only requiring operations.

One can also resort to MCMC sampling; for instance such a sampler was considered in (Kang, 2013) (though with an incorrect mixing time analysis). The results of (Li et al., 2016) hold only for -DPPs, but suggest their MCMC sampler may possibly take time for full DPPs, which is impractical. Nevertheless if one develops faster MCMC samplers, they should also be able to profit from the Kronecker product structure offered by KronDpp.

5 Experimental results

In order to validate our learning algorithm, we compared KrK-Picard to Joint-Picard and to the Picard iteration (Picard) on multiple real and synthetic datasets.111All experiments were repeated 5 times and averaged, using MATLAB on a Linux Mint system with 16GB of RAM and an i7-4710HQ CPU @ 2.50GHz.

5.1 Synthetic tests

All three algorithms were used to learn from synthetic data drawn from a “true” kernel. The sub-kernels were initialized by , with ’s coefficients drawn uniformly from ; for Picard, was initialized with .

Figure 1:

; the thin dotted lines indicated the standard deviation from the mean.

For Figures 0(a) and 0(b)

, training data was generated by sampling 100 subsets from the true kernel with sizes uniformly distributed between 10 and 190.

To evaluate KrK-Picard on matrices too large to fit in memory and with large , we drew samples from a kernel of rank (on average ), and learned the kernel stochastically (only KrK-Picard could be run due to the memory requirements of other methods); the likelihood drastically improves in only two steps (Fig.0(c)).

As shown in Figures 0(a) and 0(b), KrK-Picard converges significantly faster than Picard, especially for large values of . However, although Joint-Picard also increases the log-likelihood at each iteration, it converges much slower and has a high standard deviation, whereas the standard deviations for Picard and KrK-Picard are barely noticeable. For these reasons, we drop the comparison to Joint-Picard in the subsequent experiments.

5.2 Small-scale real data: baby registries

We compared KrK-Picard to Picard and EM (Gillenwater et al., 2014) on the baby registry dataset (described in-depth in (Gillenwater et al., 2014)), which has also been used to evaluate other DPP learning algorithms (Gillenwater et al., 2014; Mariet and Sra, 2015; Gartrell et al., 2016). The dataset contains 17 categories of baby-related products obtained from Amazon. We learned kernels for the 6 largest categories (); in this case, Picard is sufficiently efficient to be prefered to KrK-Picard; this comparison serves only to evaluate the quality of the final kernel estimates.

The initial marginal kernel for EM was sampled from a Wishart distribution with degrees of freedom and an identity covariance matrix, then scaled by ; for Picard, was set to ; for KrK-Picard, and were chosen (as in Joint-Picard) by minimizing . Convergence was determined when the objective change dipped below a threshold . As one EM iteration takes longer than one Picard iteration but increases the likelihood more, we set and .

The final log-likelihoods are shown in Table 1; we set the step-sizes to their largest possible values, i.e. and . Table 1 shows that KrK-Picard obtains comparable, albeit slightly worse log-likelihoods than Picard and EM, which confirms that for tractable , the better modeling capability of full kernels make them preferable to KronDpps.

Category EM Picard KrK-Picard
apparel -10.1 -10.2 -10.7
bath -8.6 -8.8 -9.1
bedding -8.7 -8.8 -9.3
diaper -10.5 -10.7 -11.1
feeding -12.1 -12.1 -12.5
gear -9.3 -9.3 -9.6
(a) Training set
Category EM Picard KrK-Picard
apparel -10.1 -10.2 -10.7
bath -8.6 -8.8 -9.1
bedding -8.7 -8.8 -9.3
diaper -10.6 -10.7 -11.2
feeding -12.2 -12.2 -12.6
gear -9.2 -9.2 -9.5
(b) Test set
Table 1: Final log-likelihoods for each large category of the baby registries dataset

5.3 Large-scale real dataset: GENES

Finally, to evaluate KrK-Picard on large matrices of real-world data, we train it on data from the GENES (Batmanghelich et al., 2014) dataset (which has also been used to evaluate DPPs in (Li et al., 2015; Batmanghelich et al., 2014)). This dataset consists in 10,000 genes, each represented by 331 features corresponding to the distance of a gene to hubs in the BioGRID gene interaction network.

Picard KrK-Picard KrK-Picard (stochastic)
Average runtime 161.5 17.7 s 8.9 0.2 s 1.2 0.02 s
NLL increase (1st iter.)
Table 2: Average runtime and performance on the GENES dataset for

We construct a ground truth Gaussian DPP kernel on the GENES dataset and use it to obtain 100 training samples with sizes uniformly distributed between 50 and 200 items. Similarly to the synthetic experiments, we initialized KrK-Picard’s kernel by setting where

is a random matrix of size

; for Picard, we set the initial kernel .

(a) Non-stochastic learning
(b) Stochastic vs. non-stochastic
Figure 2: , .

Figure 2 shows the performance of both algorithms. As with the synthetic experiments, KrK-Picard converges much faster; stochastic updates increase its performance even more, as shown in Fig. 1(b). Average runtimes and speed-up are given in Table 2: KrK-Picard runs almost an order of magnitude faster than Picard, and stochastic updates are more than two orders of magnitude faster, while providing slightly larger initial increases to the log-likelihood.

6 Conclusion and future work

We introduced KronDpps, a variant of DPPs with kernels structured as the Kronecker product of smaller matrices, and showed that typical operations over DPPs such as sampling and learning the kernel from data can be made efficient for KronDpps on previously untractable ground set sizes.

By carefully leveraging the properties of the Kronecker product, we derived for a low-complexity algorithm to learn the kernel from data which guarantees positive iterates and a monotonic increase of the log-likelihood, and runs in time. This algorithm provides even more significant speed-ups and memory gains in the stochastic case, requiring only time and space. Experiments on synthetic and real data showed that KronDpps can be learned efficiently on sets large enough that does not fit in memory.

While discussing learning the kernel, we showed that and cannot be updated simultaneously in a CCCP-style iteration since is not convex over . However, it can be shown that is geodesically convex over the Riemannian manifold of positive definite matrices, which suggests that deriving an iteration which would take advantage of the intrinsic geometry of the problem may be a viable line of future work.

KronDpps also enable fast sampling, in operations when using two sub-kernels and in when using three sub-kernels; this allows for exact sampling at comparable or even better costs than previous algorithms for approximate sampling. However, as we improve computational efficiency , the subset size becomes limiting, due to the cost of sampling and learning. A necessary line of future work to allow for truly scalable DPPs is thus to overcome this computational bottleneck.


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Appendix A Proof of Prop. 3.1

We use ‘’ to denote the operator that stacks columns of a matrix to form a vector; conversely, ‘’ takes a vector with coefficients and returns a matrix.

Let , and . We note the matrix with all zeros except for a 1 at position , its size being clear from context. We wish to solve


It follows from the fact that

that and . Moreover, we know that

The Jacobian of is given by . Hence,

The last equivalence is simply the result of indices manipulation. Thus, we have

Similarly, by setting , we have that


which proves Prop. 3.1. ∎

Appendix B Efficient updates for KrK-Picard

The updates to and are obtained efficiently through different methods; hence, the proof to Thm. 3.3 is split into two sections. We write

so that . Recall that .

b.1 Updating

We wish to compute efficiently. We have

The matrix can be computed in simply by pre-computing in and then computing all traces in time. When doing stochastic updates for which is sparse with only non-zero coefficients, computing can be done in .

By diagonalizing and , we have with and . and can all be obtained in as a consequence of Prop. 2.1. Then

Let , which can be computed in . Then is computable in .

Overall, the update to can be computed in , or in if the updates are stochastic. Moreover, if is sparse with only non-zero coefficients (for stochastic updates ), can be computed in space, leading to an overall memory cost.

b.2 Updating

We wish to compute efficiently.