Ilias Diakonikolas (Theory Seminar)

Ilias Diakonikolas (University of Southern California)
Monday, February 27, 2017, 2:00pm


Title: Computational Efficiency and Robust Statistics

Abstract: We consider the following basic problem: Given corrupted samples from a high-dimensional Gaussian, can we efficiently learn its parameters? This is the prototypical question in robust statistics, a field that took shape in the 1960's with the pioneering works of Tukey and Huber. Unfortunately, all known robust estimators are hard to compute in high dimensions. This prompts the following question: Can we reconcile robustness and computational efficiency in high-dimensional learning?

In this work, we give the first efficient algorithms for robustly learning a high-dimensional Gaussian that are able to tolerate a constant fraction of corruptions. Our techniques also yield robust estimators for several other high-dimensional models, including Bayesian networks, and various mixture models.

The talk will be based on joint works with (different subsets of) G. Kamath, D. Kane, J. Li, A. Moitra, and A. Stewart.