M. Pawan Kumar
 
 

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AN ANALYSIS OF CONVEX RELAXATIONS FOR MAP ESTIMATION

M. Pawan Kumar, V. Kolmogorov and P. Torr

In Proceedings of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), 2007

The problem of obtaining the maximum a posteriori estimate of a general discrete random field (i.e. a random field defined using a finite and discrete set of labels) is known to be NP-hard. However, due to its central importance in many applications, several approximate algorithms have been proposed in the literature. In this paper, we present an analysis of three such algorithms based on convex relaxations: (i) LP-S: the linear programming (LP) relaxation proposed by Schlesinger for a special case and independently by Chekuri et al., Koster et al., and Wainwright et al. for the general case; (ii) QP-RL: the quadratic programming (QP) relaxation by Ravikumar and Lafferty; and (iii) SOCP-MS: the second order cone programming (SOCP) relaxation first proposed by Muramatsu and Suzuki for two label problems and later extended by Kumar et al. for a general label set. We show that the SOCP-MS and the QP-RL relaxations are equivalent. Furthermore, we prove that despite the flexibility in the form of the constraints/objective function offered by QP and SOCP, the LP-S relaxation strictly dominates (i.e. provides a better approximation than) QP-RL and SOCP-MS. We generalize these results by defining a large class of SOCP (and equivalent QP) relaxations which is dominated by the LP-S relaxation. Based on these results we propose some novel SOCP relaxations which strictly dominate the previous approaches.

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