Following recent technological revolutions, the investigation of massive biomedical data with growing scale, diversity, and complexity has taken a center stage in modern data analysis. Although complex, the underlying representations of many biomedical data are often sparse. For example, for a certain disease such as leukemia, even though humans have tens of thousands of genes, only a few genes are relevant to the disease; a gene network is sparse since a regulatory pathway involves only a small number of genes; many biomedical signals are sparse or compressible in the sense that they have concise representations when expressed in a proper basis. Therefore, finding sparse representations is fundamentally important for scientific discovery. Sparse methods based on the [Formula: see text] norm have attracted a great amount of research efforts in the past decade due to its sparsity-inducing property, convenient convexity, and strong theoretical guarantees. They have achieved great success in various applications such as biomarker selection, biological network construction, and magnetic resonance imaging. In this paper, we review state-of-the-art sparse methods and their applications to biomedical data.
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