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Published January 15, 2014 | public
Journal Article Open

Paved with good intentions: Analysis of a randomized block Kaczmarz method


The block Kaczmarz method is an iterative scheme for solving overdetermined least-squares problems. At each step, the algorithm projects the current iterate onto the solution space of a subset of the constraints. This paper describes a block Kaczmarz algorithm that uses a randomized control scheme to choose the subset at each step. This algorithm is the first block Kaczmarz method with an (expected) linear rate of convergence that can be expressed in terms of the geometric properties of the matrix and its submatrices. The analysis reveals that the algorithm is most effective when it is given a good row paving of the matrix, a partition of the rows into well-conditioned blocks. The operator theory literature provides detailed information about the existence and construction of good row pavings. Together, these results yield an efficient block Kaczmarz scheme that applies to many overdetermined least-squares problem.

Additional Information

© 2013 Elsevier Inc. Received 19 August 2012; Accepted 17 December 2012; Available online 11 February 2013. We would like to thank Michael Mahoney, Ben Recht, Thomas Strohmer, Steve Wright for helpful discussions about randomized linear algebra and numerical experiments. Roman Vershynin provided insight on the random paving literature. Michael McCoy explained advanced plotting techniques in Matlab, and Margot Stokol shared her expertise on color theory. J.A.T. was supported in part by ONR awards N00014-08-1-0883 and N00014-11-1002, AFOSR award FA9550-09-1-0643, DARPA award N66001-08-1-2065, and a Sloan Research Fellowship.

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