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Nonnegative Matrix Factorization via Rank-One Downdate

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Nonnegative matrix factorization (NMF) was popularized as a tool for data mining by Lee and Seung in 1999. NMF attempts to approximate a matrix with nonnegative entries by a product of two low-rank matrices, also with nonnegative entries. We propose an algorithm called rank-one downdate (R1D) for computing a NMF that is partly motivated by singular value decomposition. This algorithm computes the dominant singular values and vectors of adaptively determined submatrices of a matrix. On each iteration, R1D extracts a rank-one submatrix from the dataset according to an objective function. We establish a theoretical result that maximizing this objective function corresponds to correctly classifying articles in a nearly separable corpus. We also provide computational experiments showing the success of this method in identifying features in realistic datasets. The method is much faster than either LSI or other NMF routines.
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