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Abstract:This paper investigates projection-free algorithms for stochastic constrained multi-level optimization. In this context, the objective function is a nested composition of several smooth functions, and the decision set is closed and convex. Existing projection-free algorithms for solving this problem suffer from two limitations: 1) they solely focus on the gradient mapping criterion and fail to match the optimal sample complexities in unconstrained settings; 2) their analysis is exclusively applicable to non-convex functions, without considering convex and strongly convex objectives. To address these issues, we introduce novel projection-free variance reduction algorithms and analyze their complexities under different criteria. For gradient mapping, our complexities improve existing results and match the optimal rates for unconstrained problems. For the widely-used Frank-Wolfe gap criterion, we provide theoretical guarantees that align with those for single-level problems. Additionally, by using a stage-wise adaptation, we further obtain complexities for convex and strongly convex functions. Finally, numerical experiments on different tasks demonstrate the effectiveness of our methods.

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Abstract:We investigate decentralized online convex optimization (D-OCO), in which a set of local learners are required to minimize a sequence of global loss functions using only local computations and communications. Previous studies have established $O(n^{5/4}\rho^{-1/2}\sqrt{T})$ and ${O}(n^{3/2}\rho^{-1}\log T)$ regret bounds for convex and strongly convex functions respectively, where $n$ is the number of local learners, $\rho<1$ is the spectral gap of the communication matrix, and $T$ is the time horizon. However, there exist large gaps from the existing lower bounds, i.e., $\Omega(n\sqrt{T})$ for convex functions and $\Omega(n)$ for strongly convex functions. To fill these gaps, in this paper, we first develop novel D-OCO algorithms that can respectively reduce the regret bounds for convex and strongly convex functions to $\tilde{O}(n\rho^{-1/4}\sqrt{T})$ and $\tilde{O}(n\rho^{-1/2}\log T)$. The primary technique is to design an online accelerated gossip strategy that enjoys a faster average consensus among local learners. Furthermore, by carefully exploiting the spectral properties of a specific network topology, we enhance the lower bounds for convex and strongly convex functions to $\Omega(n\rho^{-1/4}\sqrt{T})$ and $\Omega(n\rho^{-1/2})$, respectively. These lower bounds suggest that our algorithms are nearly optimal in terms of $T$, $n$, and $\rho$.

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Abstract:We investigate bandit convex optimization (BCO) with delayed feedback, where only the loss value of the action is revealed under an arbitrary delay. Previous studies have established a regret bound of $O(T^{3/4}+d^{1/3}T^{2/3})$ for this problem, where $d$ is the maximum delay, by simply feeding delayed loss values to the classical bandit gradient descent (BGD) algorithm. In this paper, we develop a novel algorithm to enhance the regret, which carefully exploits the delayed bandit feedback via a blocking update mechanism. Our analysis first reveals that the proposed algorithm can decouple the joint effect of the delays and bandit feedback on the regret, and improve the regret bound to $O(T^{3/4}+\sqrt{dT})$ for convex functions. Compared with the previous result, our regret matches the $O(T^{3/4})$ regret of BGD in the non-delayed setting for a larger amount of delay, i.e., $d=O(\sqrt{T})$, instead of $d=O(T^{1/4})$. Furthermore, we consider the case with strongly convex functions, and prove that the proposed algorithm can enjoy a better regret bound of $O(T^{2/3}\log^{1/3}T+d\log T)$. Finally, we show that in a special case with unconstrained action sets, it can be simply extended to achieve a regret bound of $O(\sqrt{T\log T}+d\log T)$ for strongly convex and smooth functions.

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Abstract:This paper investigates the problem of generalized linear bandits with heavy-tailed rewards, whose $(1+\epsilon)$-th moment is bounded for some $\epsilon\in (0,1]$. Although there exist methods for generalized linear bandits, most of them focus on bounded or sub-Gaussian rewards and are not well-suited for many real-world scenarios, such as financial markets and web-advertising. To address this issue, we propose two novel algorithms based on truncation and mean of medians. These algorithms achieve an almost optimal regret bound of $\widetilde{O}(dT^{\frac{1}{1+\epsilon}})$, where $d$ is the dimension of contextual information and $T$ is the time horizon. Our truncation-based algorithm supports online learning, distinguishing it from existing truncation-based approaches. Additionally, our mean-of-medians-based algorithm requires only $O(\log T)$ rewards and one estimator per epoch, making it more practical. Moreover, our algorithms improve the regret bounds by a logarithmic factor compared to existing algorithms when $\epsilon=1$. Numerical experimental results confirm the merits of our algorithms.

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Authors:Yuwen Wang, Shunyu Liu, Kaixuan Chen, Tongtian Zhu, Ji Qiao, Mengjie Shi, Yuanyu Wan, Mingli Song

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Abstract:Graph Lottery Ticket (GLT), a combination of core subgraph and sparse subnetwork, has been proposed to mitigate the computational cost of deep Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) on large input graphs while preserving original performance. However, the winning GLTs in exisiting studies are obtained by applying iterative magnitude-based pruning (IMP) without re-evaluating and re-considering the pruned information, which disregards the dynamic changes in the significance of edges/weights during graph/model structure pruning, and thus limits the appeal of the winning tickets. In this paper, we formulate a conjecture, i.e., existing overlooked valuable information in the pruned graph connections and model parameters which can be re-grouped into GLT to enhance the final performance. Specifically, we propose an adversarial complementary erasing (ACE) framework to explore the valuable information from the pruned components, thereby developing a more powerful GLT, referred to as the ACE-GLT. The main idea is to mine valuable information from pruned edges/weights after each round of IMP, and employ the ACE technique to refine the GLT processing. Finally, experimental results demonstrate that our ACE-GLT outperforms existing methods for searching GLT in diverse tasks. Our code will be made publicly available.

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Abstract:We investigate the problem of online learning with monotone and continuous DR-submodular reward functions, which has received great attention recently. To efficiently handle this problem, especially in the case with complicated decision sets, previous studies have proposed an efficient projection-free algorithm called Mono-Frank-Wolfe (Mono-FW) using $O(T)$ gradient evaluations and linear optimization steps in total. However, it only attains a $(1-1/e)$-regret bound of $O(T^{4/5})$. In this paper, we propose an improved projection-free algorithm, namely POBGA, which reduces the regret bound to $O(T^{3/4})$ while keeping the same computational complexity as Mono-FW. Instead of modifying Mono-FW, our key idea is to make a novel combination of a projection-based algorithm called online boosting gradient ascent, an infeasible projection technique, and a blocking technique. Furthermore, we consider the decentralized setting and develop a variant of POBGA, which not only reduces the current best regret bound of efficient projection-free algorithms for this setting from $O(T^{4/5})$ to $O(T^{3/4})$, but also reduces the total communication complexity from $O(T)$ to $O(\sqrt{T})$.

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Abstract:Online convex optimization (OCO) with arbitrary delays, in which gradients or other information of functions could be arbitrarily delayed, has received increasing attention recently. Different from previous studies that focus on stationary environments, this paper investigates the delayed OCO in non-stationary environments, and aims to minimize the dynamic regret with respect to any sequence of comparators. To this end, we first propose a simple algorithm, namely DOGD, which performs a gradient descent step for each delayed gradient according to their arrival order. Despite its simplicity, our novel analysis shows that DOGD can attain an $O(\sqrt{dT}(P_T+1)$ dynamic regret bound in the worst case, where $d$ is the maximum delay, $T$ is the time horizon, and $P_T$ is the path length of comparators. More importantly, in case delays do not change the arrival order of gradients, it can automatically reduce the dynamic regret to $O(\sqrt{S}(1+P_T))$, where $S$ is the sum of delays. Furthermore, we develop an improved algorithm, which can reduce those dynamic regret bounds achieved by DOGD to $O(\sqrt{dT(P_T+1)})$ and $O(\sqrt{S(1+P_T)})$, respectively. The essential idea is to run multiple DOGD with different learning rates, and utilize a meta-algorithm to track the best one based on their delayed performance. Finally, we demonstrate that our improved algorithm is optimal in both cases by deriving a matching lower bound.

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Authors:Yibo Wang, Wenhao Yang, Wei Jiang, Shiyin Lu, Bing Wang, Haihong Tang, Yuanyu Wan, Lijun Zhang

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Abstract:Projection-free online learning has drawn increasing interest due to its efficiency in solving high-dimensional problems with complicated constraints. However, most existing projection-free online methods focus on minimizing the static regret, which unfortunately fails to capture the challenge of changing environments. In this paper, we investigate non-stationary projection-free online learning, and choose dynamic regret and adaptive regret to measure the performance. Specifically, we first provide a novel dynamic regret analysis for an existing projection-free method named $\text{BOGD}_\text{IP}$, and establish an $\mathcal{O}(T^{3/4}(1+P_T))$ dynamic regret bound, where $P_T$ denotes the path-length of the comparator sequence. Then, we improve the upper bound to $\mathcal{O}(T^{3/4}(1+P_T)^{1/4})$ by running multiple $\text{BOGD}_\text{IP}$ algorithms with different step sizes in parallel, and tracking the best one on the fly. Our results are the first general-case dynamic regret bounds for projection-free online learning, and can recover the existing $\mathcal{O}(T^{3/4})$ static regret by setting $P_T = 0$. Furthermore, we propose a projection-free method to attain an $\tilde{\mathcal{O}}(\tau^{3/4})$ adaptive regret bound for any interval with length $\tau$, which nearly matches the static regret over that interval. The essential idea is to maintain a set of $\text{BOGD}_\text{IP}$ algorithms dynamically, and combine them by a meta algorithm. Moreover, we demonstrate that it is also equipped with an $\mathcal{O}(T^{3/4}(1+P_T)^{1/4})$ dynamic regret bound. Finally, empirical studies verify our theoretical findings.

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Abstract:To deal with non-stationary online problems with complex constraints, we investigate the dynamic regret of online Frank-Wolfe (OFW), which is an efficient projection-free algorithm for online convex optimization. It is well-known that in the setting of offline optimization, the smoothness of functions and the strong convexity of functions accompanying specific properties of constraint sets can be utilized to achieve fast convergence rates for the Frank-Wolfe (FW) algorithm. However, for OFW, previous studies only establish a dynamic regret bound of $O(\sqrt{T}(1+V_T+\sqrt{D_T}))$ by utilizing the convexity of problems, where $T$ is the number of rounds, $V_T$ is the function variation, and $D_T$ is the gradient variation. In this paper, we derive improved dynamic regret bounds for OFW by extending the fast convergence rates of FW from offline optimization to online optimization. The key technique for this extension is to set the step size of OFW with a line search rule. In this way, we first show that the dynamic regret bound of OFW can be improved to $O(\sqrt{T(1+V_T)})$ for smooth functions. Second, we achieve a better dynamic regret bound of $O((1+V_T)^{2/3}T^{1/3})$ when functions are smooth and strongly convex, and the constraint set is strongly convex. Finally, for smooth and strongly convex functions with minimizers in the interior of the constraint set, we demonstrate that the dynamic regret of OFW reduces to $O(1+V_T)$, and can be further strengthened to $O(\min\{P_T^\ast,S_T^\ast,V_T\}+1)$ by performing a constant number of FW iterations per round, where $P_T^\ast$ and $S_T^\ast$ denote the path length and squared path length of minimizers, respectively.

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Abstract:The online Frank-Wolfe (OFW) method has gained much popularity for online convex optimization due to its projection-free property. Previous studies showed that for convex losses, OFW attains $O(T^{3/4})$ regret over general sets and $O(T^{2/3})$ regret over strongly convex sets, and if losses are strongly convex, these bounds can be improved to $O(T^{2/3})$ and $O(\sqrt{T})$, respectively. However, they assumed that each gradient queried by OFW is revealed immediately, which may not hold in practice. In this paper, we consider a more practical setting where gradients arrive with arbitrary and unknown delays, and propose delayed OFW which generalizes OFW to this setting. The main idea is to perform an update similar to OFW after receiving any gradient, and play the latest decision for each round. We first show that for convex losses, delayed OFW achieves $O(T^{3/4}+dT^{1/4})$ regret over general sets and $O(T^{2/3}+dT^{1/3})$ regret over strongly convex sets, where $d$ is the maximum delay. Furthermore, we prove that for strongly convex losses, delayed OFW attains $O(T^{2/3}+d\log T)$ regret over general sets and $O(\sqrt{T}+d\log T)$ regret over strongly convex sets. Compared with regret bounds in the non-delayed setting, our results imply that the proposed method is robust to a relatively large amount of delay.

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