Geometric Methods in Statistics, Optimization, and Sampling

Tuesday, October 13, 2020 - 1:25pm - 2:25pm
Tyler Maunu (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

I will address some recent developments in geometric methods for optimization, statistics, and sampling. Within three specific examples, I will demonstrate how one can leverage geometric structure to achieve: 1) robust recovery results for nonconvex estimators, 2) fast statistical rates in Wasserstein barycenter estimation, and 3) efficient sampling algorithms. First, in regard to robust recovery, I consider the problems of robust subspace recovery and robust synchronization. Each of these problems has an underlying manifold structure that is exploited to yield state-of-the-art robustness guarantees and efficient algorithms. Next, I will discuss the problem of statistical estimation of Wasserstein barycenters and develop a condition that ensures fast rates for an efficiently computable estimator. Finally, I will show how the leveraging the structure of gradient flows on Wasserstein space allows one to develop fast rates of convergence for sampling algorithms. The discretization of these flows leads to novel sampling algorithms that offer distinct advantages over existing methods.

Tyler received his Ph.D. in Mathematics and M.S. in Statistics from the University of Minnesota in 2018, where he worked with Prof. Gilad Lerman on the problem of robust subspace recovery. Since then, he has been an Instructor in Applied Mathematics at MIT, where he has worked with Prof. Philippe Rigollet on problems related to optimization, optimal transport, and sampling.