Skip to yearly menu bar Skip to main content


Linearly Constrained Bilevel Optimization: A Smoothed Implicit Gradient Approach

Prashant Khanduri · Ioannis Tsaknakis · Yihua Zhang · Jia Liu · Sijia Liu · Jiawei Zhang · Mingyi Hong

Exhibit Hall 1 #517


This work develops analysis and algorithms for solving a class of bilevel optimization problems where the lower-level (LL) problems have linear constraints. Most of the existing approaches for constrained bilevel problems rely on value function-based approximate reformulations, which suffer from issues such as non-convex and non-differentiable constraints. In contrast, in this work, we develop an implicit gradient-based approach, which is easy to implement, and is suitable for machine learning applications. We first provide an in-depth understanding of the problem, by showing that the implicit objective for such problems is in general non-differentiable. However, if we add some small (linear) perturbation to the LL objective, the resulting implicit objective becomes differentiable almost surely. This key observation opens the door for developing (deterministic and stochastic) gradient-based algorithms similar to the state-of-the-art ones for unconstrained bi-level problems. We show that when the implicit function is assumed to be strongly-convex, convex, and weakly-convex, the resulting algorithms converge with guaranteed rate. Finally, we experimentally corroborate the theoretical findings and evaluate the performance of the proposed framework on numerical and adversarial learning problems.

Chat is not available.