On Sketching Quadratic Forms

We undertake a systematic study of sketching a quadratic form: given an $n \times n$ matrix $A$, create a succinct sketch $\textbf{sk}(A)$ which can produce (without further access to $A$) a multiplicative $(1+\epsilon)$-approximation to $x^T A x$ for any desired query $x \in \mathbb{R}^n$. While a general matrix does not admit non-trivial sketches, positive semi-definite (PSD) matrices admit sketches of size $\Theta(\epsilon^{-2} n)$, via the Johnson-Lindenstrauss lemma, achieving the "for each" guarantee, namely, for each query $x$, with a constant probability the sketch succeeds. (For the stronger "for all" guarantee, where the sketch succeeds for all $x$'s simultaneously, again there are no non-trivial sketches.) We design significantly better sketches for the important subclass of graph Laplacian matrices, which we also extend to symmetric diagonally dominant matrices. A sequence of work culminating in that of Batson, Spielman, and Srivastava (SIAM Review, 2014), shows that by choosing and reweighting $O(\epsilon^{-2} n)$ edges in a graph, one achieves the "for all" guarantee. Our main results advance this front. $\bullet$ For the "for all" guarantee, we prove that Batson et al.'s bound is optimal even when we restrict to "cut queries" $x\in \{0,1\}^n$. In contrast, previous lower bounds showed the bound only for {\em spectral-sparsifiers}. $\bullet$ For the "for each" guarantee, we design a sketch of size $\tilde O(\epsilon^{-1} n)$ bits for "cut queries" $x\in \{0,1\}^n$. We prove a nearly-matching lower bound of $\Omega(\epsilon^{-1} n)$ bits. For general queries $x \in \mathbb{R}^n$, we construct sketches of size $\tilde{O}(\epsilon^{-1.6} n)$ bits.

Comments: 46 pages; merging of arXiv:1403.7058 and arXiv:1412.8225

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