I have an iterative sequence for optimizing an EM (Expectation Maximization) algorithm based loss function $L(X)$ with $t$ being the iteration number as: $X_t=ABX_{t-1}+CX_{t-1}+X_{t-1}$ where $A$ is a diagonal matrix, $B$ and $C$ are positive semi-definite matrices. Also the diagonal entries in $A$ are the inverse of the diagonal elements of $C$. i.e, $A=Diag^{-1}(C)$.

I would like to compute the convergence rate (root-convergence rate) of this algorithm as $t\to \infty$. Am assuming it has got to do with taylor expansions, spectral radii and fixed point theorems. How is this approached or done for iterative schemes?

  • $\begingroup$ You may get more answers if you state what EM and MM stand for and what problem they're used to solve, in the question title. $\endgroup$ Aug 22, 2012 at 3:58
  • $\begingroup$ EM stands for Expectation Maximization $\endgroup$
    – hearse
    Aug 22, 2012 at 4:09
  • $\begingroup$ What is this scheme supposed to converge to as $t \rightarrow \infty$? Some sort of equilibrium/steady state? $\endgroup$ Aug 22, 2012 at 5:31
  • $\begingroup$ Yes a steady state where $||X_t-X_{t-1}||$ tends to a small value $\epsilon$ or even to zero as $t \to \infty$ where in a local/global minimum is reached. $\endgroup$
    – hearse
    Aug 22, 2012 at 6:36
  • $\begingroup$ in the title $\endgroup$ Aug 22, 2012 at 12:19

1 Answer 1


This is just a linear fixed-point iteration

$$ X_t = M X_{t-1}$$


$$\DeclareMathOperator{\diag}{diag} M = AB + C + I = (\diag C)^{-1} B + C + I .$$

The convergence rate of this iteration is linear with worst-case convergence factor equal to the spectral radius of $M$ (therefore, if $\rho(M) > 1$, the method does not converge). Furthermore, if $\rho(M) = 1$ and has any eigenvalues of magnitude 1 that are not exactly 1, the iteration also does not converge. Clearly, if $B$ and $C$ can vary independently, the iteration is not generally convergent. Note that if $\rho(M) < 1$, it always converges to 0.

  • $\begingroup$ What do you mean by 'eigenvalues of magnitude 1 that are not exactly 1'? Also, if 4(B+C) is the gradient of the loss, would it change the inferences on the convergence? Thanks. $\endgroup$
    – hearse
    Aug 22, 2012 at 12:34
  • $\begingroup$ $\lambda = -1$ or $\lambda = i$ are examples with magnitude $1$ that are not equal to $1$. The physical interpretation of the matrices does not change the math. Is the iteration supposed to converge to $0$? If not, perhaps you wrote down the method incorrectly. $\endgroup$
    – Jed Brown
    Aug 22, 2012 at 14:17

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