We describe a simple random-sampling based procedure for producing sparse matrix approximations. Our procedure and analysis are extremely simple: the analysis uses nothing more than the Chernoff-Hoeffding bounds. Despite the simplicity, the approximation is comparable and sometimes better than previous work.
Our algorithm computes the sparse matrix approximation in a single pass over the data. Further, most of the entries in the output matrix are quantized, and can be succinctly represented by a bit vector, thus leading to much savings in space.