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Abstract:Tracking the solution of time-varying variational inequalities is an important problem with applications in game theory, optimization, and machine learning. Existing work considers time-varying games or time-varying optimization problems. For strongly convex optimization problems or strongly monotone games, these results provide tracking guarantees under the assumption that the variation of the time-varying problem is restrained, that is, problems with a sublinear solution path. In this work we extend existing results in two ways: In our first result, we provide tracking bounds for (1) variational inequalities with a sublinear solution path but not necessarily monotone functions, and (2) for periodic time-varying variational inequalities that do not necessarily have a sublinear solution path-length. Our second main contribution is an extensive study of the convergence behavior and trajectory of discrete dynamical systems of periodic time-varying VI. We show that these systems can exhibit provably chaotic behavior or can converge to the solution. Finally, we illustrate our theoretical results with experiments.

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Abstract:Motivated by applications of large embedding models, we study differentially private (DP) optimization problems under sparsity of individual gradients. We start with new near-optimal bounds for the classic mean estimation problem but with sparse data, improving upon existing algorithms particularly for the high-dimensional regime. Building on this, we obtain pure- and approximate-DP algorithms with almost optimal rates for stochastic convex optimization with sparse gradients; the former represents the first nearly dimension-independent rates for this problem. Finally, we study the approximation of stationary points for the empirical loss in approximate-DP optimization and obtain rates that depend on sparsity instead of dimension, modulo polylogarithmic factors.

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Abstract:We initiate the study of nonsmooth optimization problems under bounded local subgradient variation, which postulates bounded difference between (sub)gradients in small local regions around points, in either average or maximum sense. The resulting class of objective functions encapsulates the classes of objective functions traditionally studied in optimization, which are defined based on either Lipschitz continuity of the objective or H\"{o}lder/Lipschitz continuity of its gradient. Further, the defined class contains functions that are neither Lipschitz continuous nor have a H\"{o}lder continuous gradient. When restricted to the traditional classes of optimization problems, the parameters defining the studied classes lead to more fine-grained complexity bounds, recovering traditional oracle complexity bounds in the worst case but generally leading to lower oracle complexity for functions that are not ``worst case.'' Some highlights of our results are that: (i) it is possible to obtain complexity results for both convex and nonconvex problems with the (local or global) Lipschitz constant being replaced by a constant of local subgradient variation and (ii) mean width of the subdifferential set around the optima plays a role in the complexity of nonsmooth optimization, particularly in parallel settings. A consequence of (ii) is that for any error parameter $\epsilon > 0$, parallel oracle complexity of nonsmooth Lipschitz convex optimization is lower than its sequential oracle complexity by a factor $\tilde{\Omega}\big(\frac{1}{\epsilon}\big)$ whenever the objective function is piecewise linear with polynomially many pieces in the input size. This is particularly surprising as existing parallel complexity lower bounds are based on such classes of functions. The seeming contradiction is resolved by considering the region in which the algorithm is allowed to query the objective.

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Abstract:We study the limits and capability of public-data assisted differentially private (PA-DP) algorithms. Specifically, we focus on the problem of stochastic convex optimization (SCO) with either labeled or unlabeled public data. For complete/labeled public data, we show that any $(\epsilon,\delta)$-PA-DP has excess risk $\tilde{\Omega}\big(\min\big\{\frac{1}{\sqrt{n_{\text{pub}}}},\frac{1}{\sqrt{n}}+\frac{\sqrt{d}}{n\epsilon} \big\} \big)$, where $d$ is the dimension, ${n_{\text{pub}}}$ is the number of public samples, ${n_{\text{priv}}}$ is the number of private samples, and $n={n_{\text{pub}}}+{n_{\text{priv}}}$. These lower bounds are established via our new lower bounds for PA-DP mean estimation, which are of a similar form. Up to constant factors, these lower bounds show that the simple strategy of either treating all data as private or discarding the private data, is optimal. We also study PA-DP supervised learning with \textit{unlabeled} public samples. In contrast to our previous result, we here show novel methods for leveraging public data in private supervised learning. For generalized linear models (GLM) with unlabeled public data, we show an efficient algorithm which, given $\tilde{O}({n_{\text{priv}}}\epsilon)$ unlabeled public samples, achieves the dimension independent rate $\tilde{O}\big(\frac{1}{\sqrt{{n_{\text{priv}}}}} + \frac{1}{\sqrt{{n_{\text{priv}}}\epsilon}}\big)$. We develop new lower bounds for this setting which shows that this rate cannot be improved with more public samples, and any fewer public samples leads to a worse rate. Finally, we provide extensions of this result to general hypothesis classes with finite fat-shattering dimension with applications to neural networks and non-Euclidean geometries.

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Abstract:We study the problem of differentially-private (DP) stochastic (convex-concave) saddle-points in the polyhedral setting. We propose $(\varepsilon, \delta)$-DP algorithms based on stochastic mirror descent that attain nearly dimension-independent convergence rates for the expected duality gap, a type of guarantee that was known before only for bilinear objectives. For convex-concave and first-order-smooth stochastic objectives, our algorithms attain a rate of $\sqrt{\log(d)/n} + (\log(d)^{3/2}/[n\varepsilon])^{1/3}$, where $d$ is the dimension of the problem and $n$ the dataset size. Under an additional second-order-smoothness assumption, we improve the rate on the expected gap to $\sqrt{\log(d)/n} + (\log(d)^{3/2}/[n\varepsilon])^{2/5}$. Under this additional assumption, we also show, by using bias-reduced gradient estimators, that the duality gap is bounded by $\log(d)/\sqrt{n} + \log(d)/[n\varepsilon]^{1/2}$ with constant success probability. This result provides evidence of the near-optimality of the approach. Finally, we show that combining our methods with acceleration techniques from online learning leads to the first algorithm for DP Stochastic Convex Optimization in the polyhedral setting that is not based on Frank-Wolfe methods. For convex and first-order-smooth stochastic objectives, our algorithms attain an excess risk of $\sqrt{\log(d)/n} + \log(d)^{7/10}/[n\varepsilon]^{2/5}$, and when additionally assuming second-order-smoothness, we improve the rate to $\sqrt{\log(d)/n} + \log(d)/\sqrt{n\varepsilon}$. Instrumental to all of these results are various extensions of the classical Maurey Sparsification Lemma, which may be of independent interest.

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Abstract:We study private empirical risk minimization (ERM) problem for losses satisfying the $(\gamma,\kappa)$-Kurdyka-{\L}ojasiewicz (KL) condition. The Polyak-{\L}ojasiewicz (PL) condition is a special case of this condition when $\kappa=2$. Specifically, we study this problem under the constraint of $\rho$ zero-concentrated differential privacy (zCDP). When $\kappa\in[1,2]$ and the loss function is Lipschitz and smooth over a sufficiently large region, we provide a new algorithm based on variance reduced gradient descent that achieves the rate $\tilde{O}\big(\big(\frac{\sqrt{d}}{n\sqrt{\rho}}\big)^\kappa\big)$ on the excess empirical risk, where $n$ is the dataset size and $d$ is the dimension. We further show that this rate is nearly optimal. When $\kappa \geq 2$ and the loss is instead Lipschitz and weakly convex, we show it is possible to achieve the rate $\tilde{O}\big(\big(\frac{\sqrt{d}}{n\sqrt{\rho}}\big)^\kappa\big)$ with a private implementation of the proximal point method. When the KL parameters are unknown, we provide a novel modification and analysis of the noisy gradient descent algorithm and show that this algorithm achieves a rate of $\tilde{O}\big(\big(\frac{\sqrt{d}}{n\sqrt{\rho}}\big)^{\frac{2\kappa}{4-\kappa}}\big)$ adaptively, which is nearly optimal when $\kappa = 2$. We further show that, without assuming the KL condition, the same gradient descent algorithm can achieve fast convergence to a stationary point when the gradient stays sufficiently large during the run of the algorithm. Specifically, we show that this algorithm can approximate stationary points of Lipschitz, smooth (and possibly nonconvex) objectives with rate as fast as $\tilde{O}\big(\frac{\sqrt{d}}{n\sqrt{\rho}}\big)$ and never worse than $\tilde{O}\big(\big(\frac{\sqrt{d}}{n\sqrt{\rho}}\big)^{1/2}\big)$. The latter rate matches the best known rate for methods that do not rely on variance reduction.

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Abstract:In this work, we revisit the problem of solving large-scale semidefinite programs using randomized first-order methods and stochastic smoothing. We introduce two oblivious stochastic mirror descent algorithms based on a complementary composite setting. One algorithm is designed for non-smooth objectives, while an accelerated version is tailored for smooth objectives. Remarkably, both algorithms work without prior knowledge of the Lipschitz constant or smoothness of the objective function. For the non-smooth case with $\mathcal{M}-$bounded oracles, we prove a convergence rate of $ O( {\mathcal{M}}/{\sqrt{T}} ) $. For the $L$-smooth case with a feasible set bounded by $D$, we derive a convergence rate of $ O( {L^2 D^2}/{(T^{2}\sqrt{T})} + {(D_0^2+\sigma^2)}/{\sqrt{T}} )$, where $D_0$ is the starting distance to an optimal solution, and $ \sigma^2$ is the stochastic oracle variance. These rates had only been obtained so far by either assuming prior knowledge of the Lipschitz constant or the starting distance to an optimal solution. We further show how to extend our framework to relative scale and demonstrate the efficiency and robustness of our methods on large scale semidefinite programs.

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Abstract:We show that convex-concave Lipschitz stochastic saddle point problems (also known as stochastic minimax optimization) can be solved under the constraint of $(\epsilon,\delta)$-differential privacy with \emph{strong (primal-dual) gap} rate of $\tilde O\big(\frac{1}{\sqrt{n}} + \frac{\sqrt{d}}{n\epsilon}\big)$, where $n$ is the dataset size and $d$ is the dimension of the problem. This rate is nearly optimal, based on existing lower bounds in differentially private stochastic optimization. Specifically, we prove a tight upper bound on the strong gap via novel implementation and analysis of the recursive regularization technique repurposed for saddle point problems. We show that this rate can be attained with $O\big(\min\big\{\frac{n^2\epsilon^{1.5}}{\sqrt{d}}, n^{3/2}\big\}\big)$ gradient complexity, and $O(n)$ gradient complexity if the loss function is smooth. As a byproduct of our method, we develop a general algorithm that, given a black-box access to a subroutine satisfying a certain $\alpha$ primal-dual accuracy guarantee with respect to the empirical objective, gives a solution to the stochastic saddle point problem with a strong gap of $\tilde{O}(\alpha+\frac{1}{\sqrt{n}})$. We show that this $\alpha$-accuracy condition is satisfied by standard algorithms for the empirical saddle point problem such as the proximal point method and the stochastic gradient descent ascent algorithm. Further, we show that even for simple problems it is possible for an algorithm to have zero weak gap and suffer from $\Omega(1)$ strong gap. We also show that there exists a fundamental tradeoff between stability and accuracy. Specifically, we show that any $\Delta$-stable algorithm has empirical gap $\Omega\big(\frac{1}{\Delta n}\big)$, and that this bound is tight. This result also holds also more specifically for empirical risk minimization problems and may be of independent interest.

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Abstract:Inspired by regularization techniques in statistics and machine learning, we study complementary composite minimization in the stochastic setting. This problem corresponds to the minimization of the sum of a (weakly) smooth function endowed with a stochastic first-order oracle, and a structured uniformly convex (possibly nonsmooth and non-Lipschitz) regularization term. Despite intensive work on closely related settings, prior to our work no complexity bounds for this problem were known. We close this gap by providing novel excess risk bounds, both in expectation and with high probability. Our algorithms are nearly optimal, which we prove via novel lower complexity bounds for this class of problems. We conclude by providing numerical results comparing our methods to the state of the art.

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Abstract:We study the problem of approximating stationary points of Lipschitz and smooth functions under $(\varepsilon,\delta)$-differential privacy (DP) in both the finite-sum and stochastic settings. A point $\widehat{w}$ is called an $\alpha$-stationary point of a function $F:\mathbb{R}^d\rightarrow\mathbb{R}$ if $\|\nabla F(\widehat{w})\|\leq \alpha$. We provide a new efficient algorithm that finds an $\tilde{O}\big(\big[\frac{\sqrt{d}}{n\varepsilon}\big]^{2/3}\big)$-stationary point in the finite-sum setting, where $n$ is the number of samples. This improves on the previous best rate of $\tilde{O}\big(\big[\frac{\sqrt{d}}{n\varepsilon}\big]^{1/2}\big)$. We also give a new construction that improves over the existing rates in the stochastic optimization setting, where the goal is to find approximate stationary points of the population risk. Our construction finds a $\tilde{O}\big(\frac{1}{n^{1/3}} + \big[\frac{\sqrt{d}}{n\varepsilon}\big]^{1/2}\big)$-stationary point of the population risk in time linear in $n$. Furthermore, under the additional assumption of convexity, we completely characterize the sample complexity of finding stationary points of the population risk (up to polylog factors) and show that the optimal rate on population stationarity is $\tilde \Theta\big(\frac{1}{\sqrt{n}}+\frac{\sqrt{d}}{n\varepsilon}\big)$. Finally, we show that our methods can be used to provide dimension-independent rates of $O\big(\frac{1}{\sqrt{n}}+\min\big(\big[\frac{\sqrt{rank}}{n\varepsilon}\big]^{2/3},\frac{1}{(n\varepsilon)^{2/5}}\big)\big)$ on population stationarity for Generalized Linear Models (GLM), where $rank$ is the rank of the design matrix, which improves upon the previous best known rate.

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