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On Efficient Optimal Transport: An Analysis of Greedy and Accelerated Mirror Descent Algorithms
Tianyi Lin · Nhat Ho · Michael Jordan

Tue Jun 11 11:20 AM -- 11:25 AM (PDT) @ Room 103
We provide theoretical analyses for two algorithms that solve the regularized optimal transport (OT) problem between two discrete probability measures with at most $n$ atoms. We show that a greedy variant of the classical Sinkhorn algorithm, known as the \emph{Greenkhorn algorithm}, can be improved to $\widetilde{\mathcal{O}}\left(\frac{n^2}{\varepsilon^2}\right)$, improving on the best known complexity bound of $\widetilde{\mathcal{O}}\left(\frac{n^2}{\varepsilon^3}\right)$. Notably, this matches the best known complexity bound for the Sinkhorn algorithm and helps explain why the Greenkhorn algorithm can outperform the Sinkhorn algorithm in practice. Our proof technique, which is based on a primal-dual formulation and a novel upper bound for the dual solution, also leads to a new class of algorithms that we refer to as \emph{adaptive primal-dual accelerated mirror descent} (APDAMD) algorithms. We prove that the complexity of these algorithms is $\bigOtil\left(\frac{n^2\gamma^{1/2}}{\varepsilon}\right)$, where $\gamma>0$ refers to the inverse of the strong convexity module of Bregman divergence with respect to $\left\|\cdot\right\|_\infty$. This implies that the APDAMD algorithm is faster than the Sinkhorn and Greenkhorn algorithms in terms of $\varepsilon$. Experimental results on synthetic and real datasets demonstrate the favorable performance of the Greenkhorn and APDAMD algorithms in practice.

Author Information

Tianyi Lin (UC Berkeley)
Nhat Ho (University of California, Berkeley)
Michael Jordan (UC Berkeley)

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