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On Learning Mixture Models with Sparse Parameters

Soumyabrata Pal · Arya Mazumdar


Mixture models are widely used to fit complex and multimodal datasets. In this paper we study mixtures with high dimensional sparse latent parameter vectors and consider the problem of support recovery of those vectors. While parameter learning in mixture models is well-studied, the sparsity constraint remains relatively unexplored. Sparsity of parameter vectors is a natural constraint in variety of settings, and support recovery is a major step towards parameter estimation.We provide efficient algorithms for support recovery that have a logarithmic sample complexity dependence on the dimensionality of the latent space. Our algorithms are quite general, namely they are applicable to 1) mixtures of many different canonical distributions including Uniform, Poisson, Laplace, Gaussians, etc. 2) Mixtures of linear regressions and linear classifiers with Gaussian covariates under different assumptions on the unknown parameters. In most of these settings, our results are the first guarantees on this problem while in the rest, we provide significant improvements on existing results in certain regimes.

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