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Ting-Jui Chang, Sapana Chaudhary, Dileep Kalathil, Shahin Shahrampour

This paper addresses safe distributed online optimization over an unknown set of linear safety constraints. A network of agents aims at jointly minimizing a global, time-varying function, which is only partially observable to each individual agent. Therefore, agents must engage in local communications to generate a safe sequence of actions competitive with the best minimizer sequence in hindsight, and the gap between the two sequences is quantified via dynamic regret. We propose distributed safe online gradient descent (D-Safe-OGD) with an exploration phase, where all agents estimate the constraint parameters collaboratively to build estimated feasible sets, ensuring the action selection safety during the optimization phase. We prove that for convex functions, D-Safe-OGD achieves a dynamic regret bound of $O(T^{2/3} \sqrt{\log T} + T^{1/3}C_T^*)$, where $C_T^*$ denotes the path-length of the best minimizer sequence. We further prove a dynamic regret bound of $O(T^{2/3} \sqrt{\log T} + T^{2/3}C_T^*)$ for certain non-convex problems, which establishes the first dynamic regret bound for a safe distributed algorithm in the non-convex setting.

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Yinsong Wang, Shahin Shahrampour

This work investigates the intersection of cross modal learning and semi supervised learning, where we aim to improve the supervised learning performance of the primary modality by borrowing missing information from an unlabeled modality. We investigate this problem from a Nadaraya Watson (NW) kernel regression perspective and show that this formulation implicitly leads to a kernelized cross attention module. To this end, we propose The Attention Patch (TAP), a simple neural network plugin that allows data level knowledge transfer from the unlabeled modality. We provide numerical simulations on three real world datasets to examine each aspect of TAP and show that a TAP integration in a neural network can improve generalization performance using the unlabeled modality.

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Youbang Sun, Heshan Fernando, Tianyi Chen, Shahin Shahrampour

We consider the open federated learning (FL) systems, where clients may join and/or leave the system during the FL process. Given the variability of the number of present clients, convergence to a fixed model cannot be guaranteed in open systems. Instead, we resort to a new performance metric that we term the stability of open FL systems, which quantifies the magnitude of the learned model in open systems. Under the assumption that local clients' functions are strongly convex and smooth, we theoretically quantify the radius of stability for two FL algorithms, namely local SGD and local Adam. We observe that this radius relies on several key parameters, including the function condition number as well as the variance of the stochastic gradient. Our theoretical results are further verified by numerical simulations on both synthetic and real-world benchmark data-sets.

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Ting-Jui Chang, Shahin Shahrampour

Identification of linear time-invariant (LTI) systems plays an important role in control and reinforcement learning. Both asymptotic and finite-time offline system identification are well-studied in the literature. For online system identification, the idea of stochastic-gradient descent with reverse experience replay (SGD-RER) was recently proposed, where the data sequence is stored in several buffers and the stochastic-gradient descent (SGD) update performs backward in each buffer to break the time dependency between data points. Inspired by this work, we study distributed online system identification of LTI systems over a multi-agent network. We consider agents as identical LTI systems, and the network goal is to jointly estimate the system parameters by leveraging the communication between agents. We propose DSGD-RER, a distributed variant of the SGD-RER algorithm, and theoretically characterize the improvement of the estimation error with respect to the network size. Our numerical experiments certify the reduction of estimation error as the network size grows.

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Yinsong Wang, Yu Ding, Shahin Shahrampour

Real-time density estimation is ubiquitous in many applications, including computer vision and signal processing. Kernel density estimation is arguably one of the most commonly used density estimation techniques, and the use of "sliding window" mechanism adapts kernel density estimators to dynamic processes. In this paper, we derive the asymptotic mean integrated squared error (AMISE) upper bound for the "sliding window" kernel density estimator. This upper bound provides a principled guide to devise a novel estimator, which we name the temporal adaptive kernel density estimator (TAKDE). Compared to heuristic approaches for "sliding window" kernel density estimator, TAKDE is theoretically optimal in terms of the worst-case AMISE. We provide numerical experiments using synthetic and real-world datasets, showing that TAKDE outperforms other state-of-the-art dynamic density estimators (including those outside of kernel family). In particular, TAKDE achieves a superior test log-likelihood with a smaller runtime.

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Liang Ding, Rui Tuo, Shahin Shahrampour

Deep Gaussian Processes (DGP) enable a non-parametric approach to quantify the uncertainty of complex deep machine learning models. Conventional inferential methods for DGP models can suffer from high computational complexity as they require large-scale operations with kernel matrices for training and inference. In this work, we propose an efficient scheme for accurate inference and prediction based on a range of Gaussian Processes, called the Tensor Markov Gaussian Processes (TMGP). We construct an induced approximation of TMGP referred to as the hierarchical expansion. Next, we develop a deep TMGP (DTMGP) model as the composition of multiple hierarchical expansion of TMGPs. The proposed DTMGP model has the following properties: (1) the outputs of each activation function are deterministic while the weights are chosen independently from standard Gaussian distribution; (2) in training or prediction, only O(polylog(M)) (out of M) activation functions have non-zero outputs, which significantly boosts the computational efficiency. Our numerical experiments on real datasets show the superior computational efficiency of DTMGP versus other DGP models.

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Youbang Sun, Mahyar Fazlyab, Shahin Shahrampour

Mirror descent (MD) is a powerful first-order optimization technique that subsumes several optimization algorithms including gradient descent (GD). In this work, we study the exact convergence rate of MD in both centralized and distributed cases for strongly convex and smooth problems. We view MD with a dynamical system lens and leverage quadratic constraints (QCs) to provide convergence guarantees based on the Lyapunov stability. For centralized MD, we establish a semi-definite programming (SDP) that certifies exponentially fast convergence of MD subject to a linear matrix inequality (LMI). We prove that the SDP always has a feasible solution that recovers the optimal GD rate. Next, we analyze the exponential convergence of distributed MD and characterize the rate using two LMIs. To the best of our knowledge, the exact (exponential) rate of distributed MD has not been previously explored in the literature. We present numerical results as a verification of our theory and observe that the richness of the Lyapunov function entails better (worst-case) convergence rates compared to existing works on distributed GD.

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Ting-Jui Chang, Shahin Shahrampour

Online learning has recently opened avenues for rethinking classical optimal control beyond time-invariant cost metrics, and online controllers are designed when the performance criteria changes adversarially over time. Inspired by this line of research, we study the distributed online linear quadratic regulator (LQR) problem for linear time-invariant (LTI) systems with unknown dynamics. Consider a multi-agent network where each agent is modeled as a LTI system. The LTI systems are associated with time-varying quadratic costs that are revealed sequentially. The goal of the network is to collectively (i) estimate the unknown dynamics and (ii) compute local control sequences competitive to that of the best centralized policy in hindsight that minimizes the sum of costs for all agents. This problem is formulated as a {\it regret} minimization. We propose a distributed variant of the online LQR algorithm where each agent computes its system estimate during an exploration stage. The agent then applies distributed online gradient descent on a semi-definite programming (SDP) whose feasible set is based on the agent's system estimate. We prove that the regret bound of our proposed algorithm scales $\tilde{O}(T^{2/3})$, implying the consensus of the network over time. We also provide simulation results verifying our theoretical guarantee.

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Shixiang Chen, Alfredo Garcia, Mingyi Hong, Shahin Shahrampour

We consider a distributed non-convex optimization where a network of agents aims at minimizing a global function over the Stiefel manifold. The global function is represented as a finite sum of smooth local functions, where each local function is associated with one agent and agents communicate with each other over an undirected connected graph. The problem is non-convex as local functions are possibly non-convex (but smooth) and the Steifel manifold is a non-convex set. We present a decentralized Riemannian stochastic gradient method (DRSGD) with the convergence rate of $\mathcal{O}(1/\sqrt{K})$ to a stationary point. To have exact convergence with constant stepsize, we also propose a decentralized Riemannian gradient tracking algorithm (DRGTA) with the convergence rate of $\mathcal{O}(1/K)$ to a stationary point. We use multi-step consensus to preserve the iteration in the local (consensus) region. DRGTA is the first decentralized algorithm with exact convergence for distributed optimization on Stiefel manifold.

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Shixiang Chen, Alfredo Garcia, Mingyi Hong, Shahin Shahrampour

We study the convergence properties of Riemannian gradient method for solving the consensus problem (for an undirected connected graph) over the Stiefel manifold. The Stiefel manifold is a non-convex set and the standard notion of averaging in the Euclidean space does not work for this problem. We propose Distributed Riemannian Consensus on Stiefel Manifold (DRCS) and prove that it enjoys a local linear convergence rate to global consensus. More importantly, this local rate asymptotically scales with the second largest singular value of the communication matrix, which is on par with the well-known rate in the Euclidean space. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work showing the equality of the two rates. The main technical challenges include (i) developing a Riemannian restricted secant inequality for convergence analysis, and (ii) to identify the conditions (e.g., suitable step-size and initialization) under which the algorithm always stays in the local region.

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