A High-Performance Parallel Algorithm for Nonnegative Matrix Factorization
Non-negative matrix factorization (NMF) is the problem of determining two non-negative low rank factors W and H, for the given input matrix A, such that A ≈ WH. NMF is a useful tool for many applications in different domains such as topic modeling in text mining, background separation in video analysis, and community detection in social networks. Despite its popularity in the data mining community, there is a lack of efficient distributed algorithms to solve the problem for big data sets.
We propose a high-performance distributed-memory parallel algorithm that computes the factorization by iteratively solving alternating non-negative least squares (NLS) subproblems for W and H. It maintains the data and factor matrices in memory (distributed across processors), uses MPI for interprocessor communication, and, in the dense case, provably minimizes communication costs (under mild assumptions). As opposed to previous implementations, our algorithm is also flexible: (1) it performs well for both dense and sparse matrices, and (2) it allows the user to choose any one of the multiple algorithms for solving the updates to low rank factors W and H within the alternating iterations. We demonstrate the scalability of our algorithm and compare it with baseline implementations, showing significant performance improvements.
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