Moderator : Luo Luo

Tue 20 Jul 7 p.m. PDT
— 8 p.m. PDT

Abstract:

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Tue 20 July 19:00 - 19:20 PDT

(Oral)

TaeHo Yoon · Ernest Ryu

In this work, we study the computational complexity of reducing the squared gradient magnitude for smooth minimax optimization problems. First, we present algorithms with accelerated $\mathcal{O}(1/k^2)$ last-iterate rates, faster than the existing $\mathcal{O}(1/k)$ or slower rates for extragradient, Popov, and gradient descent with anchoring. The acceleration mechanism combines extragradient steps with anchoring and is distinct from Nesterov's acceleration. We then establish optimality of the $\mathcal{O}(1/k^2)$ rate through a matching lower bound.

Tue 20 July 19:20 - 19:25 PDT

(Spotlight)

Foivos Alimisis · Peter Davies · Dan Alistarh

We investigate fast and communication-efficient algorithms for the classic problem of minimizing a sum of strongly convex and smooth functions that are distributed among $n$ different nodes, which can communicate using a limited number of bits. Most previous communication-efficient approaches for this problem are limited to first-order optimization, and therefore have \emph{linear} dependence on the condition number in their communication complexity. We show that this dependence is not inherent: communication-efficient methods can in fact have sublinear dependence on the condition number. For this, we design and analyze the first communication-efficient distributed variants of preconditioned gradient descent for Generalized Linear Models, and for Newton's method. Our results rely on a new technique for quantizing both the preconditioner and the descent direction at each step of the algorithms, while controlling their convergence rate. We also validate our findings experimentally, showing faster convergence and reduced communication relative to previous methods.

Tue 20 July 19:25 - 19:30 PDT

(Spotlight)

Aadirupa Saha · Nagarajan Natarajan · Praneeth Netrapalli · Prateek Jain

We study online learning with bandit feedback (i.e. learner has access to only zeroth-order oracle) where cost/reward functions $\f_t$ admit a "pseudo-1d" structure, i.e. $\f_t(\w) = \loss_t(\pred_t(\w))$ where the output of $\pred_t$ is one-dimensional. At each round, the learner observes context $\x_t$, plays prediction $\pred_t(\w_t; \x_t)$ (e.g. $\pred_t(\cdot)=\langle \x_t, \cdot\rangle$) for some $\w_t \in \mathbb{R}^d$ and observes loss $\loss_t(\pred_t(\w_t))$ where $\loss_t$ is a convex Lipschitz-continuous function. The goal is to minimize the standard regret metric. This pseudo-1d bandit convex optimization problem (\SBCO) arises frequently in domains such as online decision-making or parameter-tuning in large systems. For this problem, we first show a regret lower bound of $\min(\sqrt{dT}, T^{3/4})$ for any algorithm, where $T$ is the number of rounds. We propose a new algorithm \sbcalg that combines randomized online gradient descent with a kernelized exponential weights method to exploit the pseudo-1d structure effectively, guaranteeing the {\em optimal} regret bound mentioned above, up to additional logarithmic factors. In contrast, applying state-of-the-art online convex optimization methods leads to $\tilde{O}\left(\min\left(d^{9.5}\sqrt{T},\sqrt{d}T^{3/4}\right)\right)$ regret, that is significantly suboptimal in terms of $d$.

Tue 20 July 19:30 - 19:35 PDT

(Spotlight)

Radu Alexandru Dragomir · Mathieu Even · Hadrien Hendrikx

We study the problem of minimizing a relatively-smooth convex function using stochastic Bregman gradient methods. We first prove the convergence of Bregman Stochastic Gradient Descent (BSGD) to a region that depends on the noise (magnitude of the gradients) at the optimum. In particular, BSGD quickly converges to the exact minimizer when this noise is zero (interpolation setting, in which the data is fit perfectly). Otherwise, when the objective has a finite sum structure, we show that variance reduction can be used to counter the effect of noise. In particular, fast convergence to the exact minimizer can be obtained under additional regularity assumptions on the Bregman reference function. We illustrate the effectiveness of our approach on two key applications of relative smoothness: tomographic reconstruction with Poisson noise and statistical preconditioning for distributed optimization.

Variational representations of $f$-divergences are central to many machine learning algorithms, with Lipschitz constrained variants recently gaining attention. Inspired by this, we define the Moreau-Yosida approximation of $f$-divergences with respect to the Wasserstein-$1$ metric. The corresponding variational formulas provide a generalization of a number of recent results, novel special cases of interest and a relaxation of the hard Lipschitz constraint. Additionally, we prove that the so-called tight variational representation of $f$-divergences can be to be taken over the quotient space of Lipschitz functions, and give a characterization of functions achieving the supremum in the variational representation. On the practical side, we propose an algorithm to calculate the tight convex conjugate of $f$-divergences compatible with automatic differentiation frameworks. As an application of our results, we propose the Moreau-Yosida $f$-GAN, providing an implementation of the variational formulas for the Kullback-Leibler, reverse Kullback-Leibler, $\chi^2$, reverse $\chi^2$, squared Hellinger, Jensen-Shannon, Jeffreys, triangular discrimination and total variation divergences as GANs trained on CIFAR-10, leading to competitive results and a simple solution to the problem of uniqueness of the optimal critic.

Tue 20 July 19:40 - 19:45 PDT

(Spotlight)

Thomas Kerdreux · Lewis Liu · Simon Lacoste-Julien · Damien Scieur

It is known that the Frank-Wolfe (FW) algorithm, which is affine covariant, enjoys faster convergence rates than $\mathcal{O}\left(1/K\right)$ when the constraint set is strongly convex. However, these results rely on norm-dependent assumptions, usually incurring non-affine invariant bounds, in contradiction with FW's affine covariant property. In this work, we introduce new structural assumptions on the problem (such as the directional smoothness) and derive an affine invariant, norm-independent analysis of Frank-Wolfe. We show that our rates are better than any other known convergence rates of FW in this setting. Based on our analysis, we propose an affine invariant backtracking line-search. Interestingly, we show that typical backtracking line-searches using smoothness of the objective function present similar performances than its affine invariant counterpart, despite using affine dependent norms in the step size's computation.

Tue 20 July 19:45 - 19:50 PDT

(Spotlight)

Sergey Guminov · Pavel Dvurechenskii · Nazarii Tupitsa · Alexander Gasnikov

Alternating minimization (AM) procedures are practically efficient in many applications for solving convex and non-convex optimization problems. On the other hand, Nesterov's accelerated gradient is theoretically optimal first-order method for convex optimization. In this paper we combine AM and Nesterov's acceleration to propose an accelerated alternating minimization algorithm. We prove $1/k^2$ convergence rate in terms of the objective for convex problems and $1/k$ in terms of the squared gradient norm for non-convex problems, where $k$ is the iteration counter. Our method does not require any knowledge of neither convexity of the problem nor function parameters such as Lipschitz constant of the gradient, i.e. it is adaptive to convexity and smoothness and is uniformly optimal for smooth convex and non-convex problems. Further, we develop its primal-dual modification for strongly convex problems with linear constraints and prove the same $1/k^2$ for the primal objective residual and constraints feasibility.