We investigate the asymptotic distributions of coordinates of regression M-estimates in the moderate p/n regime, where the number of covariates p grows proportionally with the sample size n. Under appropriate regularity conditions, we establish the coordinate-wise asymptotic normality of regression M-estimates assuming a fixed-design matrix. Our proof is based on the second-order Poincare inequality (Chatterjee, 2009) and leave-one-out analysis (El Karoui et al., 2011). Some relevant examples are indicated to show that our regularity conditions are satisfied by a broad class of design matrices. We also show a counterexample, namely the ANOVA-type design, to emphasize that the technical assumptions are not just artifacts of the proof. Finally, the numerical experiments confirm and complement our theoretical results.
We consider the fundamental problem of solving quadratic systems of m equations in n variables. We propose a novel method, which starting with an initial guess computed by means of a spectral method, proceeds by minimizing a nonconvex functional as in the Wirtinger flow approach. There are several key distinguishing features, most notably, a distinct objective functional and novel update rules, which operate in an adaptive fashion and drop terms bearing too much influence on the search direction. These careful selection rules provide a tighter initial guess, better descent directions, and thus enhanced practical performance. On the theoretical side, we prove that for certain unstructured models of quadratic systems, our algorithms return the correct solution in linear time, i.e. in time proportional to reading the data and as soon as the ratio m/n between the number of equations and unknowns exceeds a fixed numerical constant. We extend the theory to deal with noisy systems and prove that our algorithms achieve a statistical accuracy, which is nearly un-improvable. We complement our theoretical study with numerical examples showing that solving random quadratic systems is both computationally and statistically not much harder than solving linear systems of the same size---hence the title of this paper. For instance, we demonstrate empirically that the computational cost of our algorithm is about four times that of solving a least-squares problem of the same size.