My research is broadly in applied mathematics with my current research interests at the intersection of matrix completion, compressive sensing, high-dimensional probability and convex optimization. Recently, I have also been learning about optimal transport and have started a research project on the graph matching problem.

Euclidean Distance Geometry problem

Given a partial distance matrix \(D \in \mathbb{R}^{n\times n}\), the Euclidean Distance Geometry problem asks if the positions of the underlying \(n \) points can be recovered. As one can guess, if there is a solution, the solution is unique up to rigid transformations and translations. A previous work proposed solving the distance geometry problem by considering a nuclear norm minimization problem for the Gram matrix. Working with my advisor Professor Rongjie Lai at RPI, we theoretically analyze the minimization program by recasting it as a matrix completion problem of a low-rank \(r\) Gram matrix with respect to a suitable basis. Introducing a dual basis approach, assuming that the underlying Gram matrix obeys coherence condition with parameter \(\nu\), the main result shows that the underlying configuration of \(n\) points can be recovered with very high probability from \(O(nrĪ½ log^2 (n))\) uniformly random distance samples. In addition, we designed simple and fast algorithm to solve the Euclidean distance geometry problem. Numerical tests on different three dimensional data and protein molecules show promising results. This work has been submitted to IEEE transactions of information theory and a draft is available here.
Future Work: There are interesting directions for future work. First, the current work assumes that the partial distance information is exact. In applications, with measurements prone to noise, the partial distance information is noisy. One direction is to extend the current analysis to the noisy Euclidean Distance Geometry problem. Second, in most applications, the partial distance matrix is not uniformly random. In other words, there is no oracle providing such information. With this, it is of interest to study, analytically and numerically, the Euclidean Distance Geometry problem under structured partial information.

General Matrix Completion

Given some entries of a matrix \(M\), could one recover \(M\)? Without any assumptions, the answer is negative and in general is not possible. Assume that the underlying matrix is low-rank and the entries are sampled uniformly at random. This is the matrix completion problem. Very remarkably, previous theoretical works have established that, under certain conditions, the underlying matrix can be recovered by solving a convex program, a nuclear norm minimization problem. In a follow up work, David Gross extended the matrix completion problem to the recovery of a low rank symmetric matrix given a few expansion coefficients with respect to an orthonormal basis. Motivated by the Euclidean Distance Geometry problem and much inspired by the result of David gross, with my advisor Professor Rongjie Lai, we considered the recovery of a low rank matrix given a few expansion coefficients with respect to any basis. Our analysis is RIPless based on dual certificates and using a dual basis approach. We introduce a condition on the basis matrices named as the correlation condition. The correlation condition can be computed in computational time \(O(n^3)\) and holds for many cases of deterministic basis where RIP might not hold or is NP hard to verify. If the correlation condition holds and the underlying low rank matrix obeys the coherence condition with parameter \(\nu\), under additional mild assumptions, our main result shows that the true matrix can be recovered with very high probability from \(O(nr\nu\log^2n)\) uniformly random expansion coefficients. This work has been submitted to Foundations of Computational Mathematics and a draft is available here.
Future Work: I am interested in pursuing this project further. The first goal is to do a more detailed analysis of the correlation condition. The second goal is to use the framework of the general matrix completion problems in certain applications and investigate its effectiveness.

Fast Algorithms for the Graph Matching Problem

Consider two weighted undirected graphs \(G_{1} = (V_1, E_1)\), \(|V_1|=n\), with weight function \(W_1 : E_2 \rightarrow \mathbb{R}\) and \(G_{2} = (V_2, E_2)\), \(|V_2|=n\), with weight function \(W_2 : E_2 \rightarrow \mathbb{R}\). The weighted graph matching problem concerns with finding the permutation matrix \(P\) that ``best aligns'' \(A\) and \(B\) where \(A\in \mathbb{R}^{n\times n}\) and \(B\in \mathbb{R}^{n\times n}\) are the weighted adjacency matrices of \(G_1\) and \(G_2\) respectively. Formally, the goal is to find a \(P\) such that, on some appropriate metric, the distance between \(A\) and \(PBP^{T}\) is minimized. Choosing the metric to be the Frobenius norm, the problem can be stated as follows
\( \hspace{20em}\underset{P}{\min} \quad ||AP-PB||_{F}^{2} \)
For example, if \(G_{1}\) and \(G_2\) are isomorphic, the graph matching problem is equivalent to finding a permutation matrix \(P\) such that \(AP = PB\). For small \(n\), given \(A\) and \(B\), one can consider all the possible permutation matrices to identify the correct one. However, as \(n\) increases, this procedure is computationally intractable. In fact, minimizing the graph matching over the set of permutation matrices is NP-Hard. One approach is a convex relaxation of the graph matching problem by minimizing over the set of doubly stochastic matrices \(D\), \(D = \{P \in \mathbb{R}^{n\times n} : P^{T}1=P1=1,P\succeq 0\}\). This choice is sensible since the Birkhoff-Von Neumann theorem states that \(D\) is known to be the convex hull for the set of permutation matrices. With this, the relaxed graph matching problem can be written as follows.
\( \hspace{20em}\underset{P \in D}{\min} \quad ||AP-PB||_{F}^{2} \)
Most current algorithms for the relaxed problem have a complexity of \(O(n^3)\) resulting from use of the Hungarian algorithm to project the final solution to the set of permutation matrices. This is expensive in applications like medical imaging and social network analysis where the size of graph easily exceeds \(n = 10^{3}\). An ongoing research project is to design a fast algorithm to this problem. More precisely, under certain conditions of the graph, the goal is in a principled way to formulate an optimization algorithm that has a computational complexity of \(O(n^2)\). Preliminary numerical experiments show promising result but the analysis of the full scope of the problem is an ongoing effort.