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Optimization Transfer Using Surrogate Objective Functions

Kenneth Lange, David R. Hunter and Ilsoon Yang
Journal of Computational and Graphical Statistics
Vol. 9, No. 1 (Mar., 2000), pp. 1-20
DOI: 10.2307/1390605
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1390605
Page Count: 20
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Optimization Transfer Using Surrogate Objective Functions
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Abstract

The well-known EM algorithm is an optimization transfer algorithm that depends on the notion of incomplete or missing data. By invoking convexity arguments, one can construct a variety of other optimization transfer algorithms that do not involve missing data. These algorithms all rely on a majorizing or minorizing function that serves as a surrogate for the objective function. Optimizing the surrogate function drives the objective function in the correct direction. This article illustrates this general principle by a number of specific examples drawn from the statistical literature. Because optimization transfer algorithms often exhibit the slow convergence of EM algorithms, two methods of accelerating optimization transfer are discussed and evaluated in the context of specific problems.

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