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Michael I. Jordan, Tianyi Lin, Zhengyuan Zhou

Online gradient descent (OGD) is well known to be doubly optimal under strong convexity or monotonicity assumptions: (1) in the single-agent setting, it achieves an optimal regret of $\Theta(\log T)$ for strongly convex cost functions; and (2) in the multi-agent setting of strongly monotone games, with each agent employing OGD, we obtain last-iterate convergence of the joint action to a unique Nash equilibrium at an optimal rate of $\Theta(\frac{1}{T})$. While these finite-time guarantees highlight its merits, OGD has the drawback that it requires knowing the strong convexity/monotonicity parameters. In this paper, we design a fully adaptive OGD algorithm, \textsf{AdaOGD}, that does not require a priori knowledge of these parameters. In the single-agent setting, our algorithm achieves $O(\log^2(T))$ regret under strong convexity, which is optimal up to a log factor. Further, if each agent employs \textsf{AdaOGD} in strongly monotone games, the joint action converges in a last-iterate sense to a unique Nash equilibrium at a rate of $O(\frac{\log^3 T}{T})$, again optimal up to log factors. We illustrate our algorithms in a learning version of the classical newsvendor problem, where due to lost sales, only (noisy) gradient feedback can be observed. Our results immediately yield the first feasible and near-optimal algorithm for both the single-retailer and multi-retailer settings. We also extend our results to the more general setting of exp-concave cost functions and games, using the online Newton step (ONS) algorithm.

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Tianyi Lin, Marco Cuturi, Michael I. Jordan

Kernel-based optimal transport (OT) estimators offer an alternative, functional estimation procedure to address OT problems from samples. Recent works suggest that these estimators are more statistically efficient than plug-in (linear programming-based) OT estimators when comparing probability measures in high-dimensions~\citep{Vacher-2021-Dimension}. Unfortunately, that statistical benefit comes at a very steep computational price: because their computation relies on the short-step interior-point method (SSIPM), which comes with a large iteration count in practice, these estimators quickly become intractable w.r.t. sample size $n$. To scale these estimators to larger $n$, we propose a nonsmooth fixed-point model for the kernel-based OT problem, and show that it can be efficiently solved via a specialized semismooth Newton (SSN) method: We show, exploring the problem's structure, that the per-iteration cost of performing one SSN step can be significantly reduced in practice. We prove that our SSN method achieves a global convergence rate of $O(1/\sqrt{k})$, and a local quadratic convergence rate under standard regularity conditions. We show substantial speedups over SSIPM on both synthetic and real datasets.

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Yang Cai, Michael I. Jordan, Tianyi Lin, Argyris Oikonomou, Emmanouil-Vasileios Vlatakis-Gkaragkounis

Numerous applications in machine learning and data analytics can be formulated as equilibrium computation over Riemannian manifolds. Despite the extensive investigation of their Euclidean counterparts, the performance of Riemannian gradient-based algorithms remain opaque and poorly understood. We revisit the original scheme of Riemannian gradient descent (RGD) and analyze it under a geodesic monotonicity assumption, which includes the well-studied geodesically convex-concave min-max optimization problem as a special case. Our main contribution is to show that, despite the phenomenon of distance distortion, the RGD scheme, with a step size that is agnostic to the manifold's curvature, achieves a curvature-independent and linear last-iterate convergence rate in the geodesically strongly monotone setting. To the best of our knowledge, the possibility of curvature-independent rates and/or last-iterate convergence in the Riemannian setting has not been considered before.

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Michael I. Jordan, Guy Kornowski, Tianyi Lin, Ohad Shamir, Manolis Zampetakis

We study the complexity of optimizing nonsmooth nonconvex Lipschitz functions by producing $(\delta,\epsilon)$-stationary points. Several recent works have presented randomized algorithms that produce such points using $\tilde O(\delta^{-1}\epsilon^{-3})$ first-order oracle calls, independent of the dimension $d$. It has been an open problem as to whether a similar result can be obtained via a deterministic algorithm. We resolve this open problem, showing that randomization is necessary to obtain a dimension-free rate. In particular, we prove a lower bound of $\Omega(d)$ for any deterministic algorithm. Moreover, we show that unlike smooth or convex optimization, access to function values is required for any deterministic algorithm to halt within any finite time. On the other hand, we prove that if the function is even slightly smooth, then the dimension-free rate of $\tilde O(\delta^{-1}\epsilon^{-3})$ can be obtained by a deterministic algorithm with merely a logarithmic dependence on the smoothness parameter. Motivated by these findings, we turn to study the complexity of deterministically smoothing Lipschitz functions. Though there are efficient black-box randomized smoothings, we start by showing that no such deterministic procedure can smooth functions in a meaningful manner, resolving an open question. We then bypass this impossibility result for the structured case of ReLU neural networks. To that end, in a practical white-box setting in which the optimizer is granted access to the network's architecture, we propose a simple, dimension-free, deterministic smoothing that provably preserves $(\delta,\epsilon)$-stationary points. Our method applies to a variety of architectures of arbitrary depth, including ResNets and ConvNets. Combined with our algorithm, this yields the first deterministic dimension-free algorithm for optimizing ReLU networks, circumventing our lower bound.

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Tianyi Lin, Panayotis Mertikopoulos, Michael I. Jordan

We propose and analyze exact and inexact regularized Newton-type methods for finding a global saddle point of a \textit{convex-concave} unconstrained min-max optimization problem. Compared to their first-order counterparts, investigations of second-order methods for min-max optimization are relatively limited, as obtaining global rates of convergence with second-order information is much more involved. In this paper, we highlight how second-order information can be used to speed up the dynamics of dual extrapolation methods {despite inexactness}. Specifically, we show that the proposed algorithms generate iterates that remain within a bounded set and the averaged iterates converge to an $\epsilon$-saddle point within $O(\epsilon^{-2/3})$ iterations in terms of a gap function. Our algorithms match the theoretically established lower bound in this context and our analysis provides a simple and intuitive convergence analysis for second-order methods without requiring any compactness assumptions. Finally, we present a series of numerical experiments on synthetic and real data that demonstrate the efficiency of the proposed algorithms.

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Tianyi Lin, Zeyu Zheng, Michael I. Jordan

Nonsmooth nonconvex optimization problems broadly emerge in machine learning and business decision making, whereas two core challenges impede the development of efficient solution methods with finite-time convergence guarantee: the lack of computationally tractable optimality criterion and the lack of computationally powerful oracles. The contributions of this paper are two-fold. First, we establish the relationship between the celebrated Goldstein subdifferential~\citep{Goldstein-1977-Optimization} and uniform smoothing, thereby providing the basis and intuition for the design of gradient-free methods that guarantee the finite-time convergence to a set of Goldstein stationary points. Second, we propose the gradient-free method (GFM) and stochastic GFM for solving a class of nonsmooth nonconvex optimization problems and prove that both of them can return a $(\delta,\epsilon)$-Goldstein stationary point of a Lipschitz function $f$ at an expected convergence rate at $O(d^{3/2}\delta^{-1}\epsilon^{-4})$ where $d$ is the problem dimension. Two-phase versions of GFM and SGFM are also proposed and proven to achieve improved large-deviation results. Finally, we demonstrate the effectiveness of 2-SGFM on training ReLU neural networks with the \textsc{Minst} dataset.

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Leonid Boytsov, Tianyi Lin, Fangwei Gao, Yutian Zhao, Jeffrey Huang, Eric Nyberg

We carry out a comprehensive evaluation of 13 recent models for ranking of long documents using two popular collections (MS MARCO documents and Robust04). Our model zoo includes two specialized Transformer models (such as Longformer) that can process long documents without the need to split them. Along the way, we document several difficulties regarding training and comparing such models. Somewhat surprisingly, we find the simple FirstP baseline (truncating documents to satisfy the input-sequence constraint of a typical Transformer model) to be quite effective. We analyze the distribution of relevant passages (inside documents) to explain this phenomenon. We further argue that, despite their widespread use, Robust04 and MS MARCO documents are not particularly useful for benchmarking of long-document models.

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Michael I. Jordan, Tianyi Lin, Emmanouil-Vasileios Vlatakis-Gkaragkounis

From optimal transport to robust dimensionality reduction, a plethora of machine learning applications can be cast into the min-max optimization problems over Riemannian manifolds. Though many min-max algorithms have been analyzed in the Euclidean setting, it has proved elusive to translate these results to the Riemannian case. Zhang et al. [2022] have recently shown that geodesic convex concave Riemannian problems always admit saddle-point solutions. Inspired by this result, we study whether a performance gap between Riemannian and optimal Euclidean space convex-concave algorithms is necessary. We answer this question in the negative-we prove that the Riemannian corrected extragradient (RCEG) method achieves last-iterate convergence at a linear rate in the geodesically strongly-convex-concave case, matching the Euclidean result. Our results also extend to the stochastic or non-smooth case where RCEG and Riemanian gradient ascent descent (RGDA) achieve near-optimal convergence rates up to factors depending on curvature of the manifold.

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Tianyi Lin, Michael. I. Jordan

This paper settles an open and challenging question pertaining to the design of simple high-order regularization methods for solving smooth and monotone variational inequalities (VIs). A VI involves finding $x^\star \in \mathcal{X}$ such that $\langle F(x), x - x^\star\rangle \geq 0$ for all $x \in \mathcal{X}$ and we consider the setting where $F: \mathbb{R}^d \mapsto \mathbb{R}^d$ is smooth with up to $(p-1)^{th}$-order derivatives. For the case of $p = 2$,~\citet{Nesterov-2006-Constrained} extended the cubic regularized Newton's method to VIs with a global rate of $O(\epsilon^{-1})$. \citet{Monteiro-2012-Iteration} proposed another second-order method which achieved an improved rate of $O(\epsilon^{-2/3}\log(1/\epsilon))$, but this method required a nontrivial binary search procedure as an inner loop. High-order methods based on similar binary search procedures have been further developed and shown to achieve a rate of $O(\epsilon^{-2/(p+1)}\log(1/\epsilon))$. However, such search procedure can be computationally prohibitive in practice and the problem of finding a simple high-order regularization methods remains as an open and challenging question in optimization theory. We propose a $p^{th}$-order method which does \textit{not} require any binary search scheme and is guaranteed to converge to a weak solution with a global rate of $O(\epsilon^{-2/(p+1)})$. A version with restarting attains a global linear and local superlinear convergence rate for smooth and strongly monotone VIs. Further, our method achieves a global rate of $O(\epsilon^{-2/p})$ for solving smooth and non-monotone VIs satisfying the Minty condition; moreover, the restarted version again attains a global linear and local superlinear convergence rate if the strong Minty condition holds.

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