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Generalized Polyak Step Size for First Order Optimization with Momentum

Xiaoyu Wang · Mikael Johansson · Tong Zhang

Exhibit Hall 1 #133
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In machine learning applications, it is well known that carefully designed learning rate (step size) schedules can significantly improve the convergence of commonly used first-order optimization algorithms. Therefore how to set step size adaptively becomes an important research question. A popular and effective method is the Polyak step size, which sets step size adaptively for gradient descent or stochastic gradient descent without the need to estimate the smoothness parameter of the objective function. However, there has not been a principled way to generalize the Polyak step size for algorithms with momentum accelerations. This paper presents a general framework to set the learning rate adaptively for first-order optimization methods with momentum, motivated by the derivation of Polyak step size. It is shown that the resulting techniques are much less sensitive to the choice of momentum parameter and may avoid the oscillation of the heavy-ball method on ill-conditioned problems. These adaptive step sizes are further extended to the stochastic settings, which are attractive choices for stochastic gradient descent with momentum. Our methods are demonstrated to be more effective for stochastic gradient methods than prior adaptive step size algorithms in large-scale machine learning tasks.

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