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PDE-Based Optimal Strategy for Unconstrained Online Learning
Zhiyu Zhang · Ashok Cutkosky · Ioannis Paschalidis

Wed Jul 20 11:25 AM -- 11:30 AM (PDT) @ Room 327 - 329
Unconstrained Online Linear Optimization (OLO) is a practical problem setting to study the training of machine learning models. Existing works proposed a number of potential-based algorithms, but in general the design of these potential functions relies heavily on guessing. To streamline this workflow, we present a framework that generates new potential functions by solving a Partial Differential Equation (PDE). Specifically, when losses are 1-Lipschitz, our framework produces a novel algorithm with anytime regret bound $C\sqrt{T}+||u||\sqrt{2T}[\sqrt{\log(1+||u||/C)}+2]$, where $C$ is a user-specified constant and $u$ is any comparator unknown and unbounded a priori. Such a bound attains an optimal loss-regret trade-off without the impractical doubling trick. Moreover, a matching lower bound shows that the leading order term, including the constant multiplier $\sqrt{2}$, is tight. To our knowledge, the proposed algorithm is the first to achieve such optimalities.

Author Information

Zhiyu Zhang (Boston University)

Hello! I am a PhD student at Boston University, advised by Prof. Yannis Paschalidis and Prof. Ashok Cutkosky. I am broadly interested in the theoretical aspects of machine learning, optimization and control theory. Specifically, I work on adaptive online learning, i.e., designing online decision making algorithms that optimally exploit problem structures.

Ashok Cutkosky (Boston University)
Ioannis Paschalidis (Boston University)

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