A View of Mini-batch SGD via Generating Functions: Conditions of Convergence, Phase Transitions, Benefit from Negative MomentaICLR
Mini-batch SGD with momentum is a fundamental algorithm for learning large predictive models. In this paper we develop a new analytic framework to analyze noise-averaged properties of mini-batch SGD for linear models at constant learning rates, momenta and sizes of batches. Our key idea is to consider the dynamics of the second moments of model parameters for a special family of "Spectrally Expressible" approximations. This allows to obtain an explicit expression for the generating function of the sequence of loss values. By analyzing this generating function, we find, in particular, that 1) the SGD dynamics exhibits several convergent and divergent regimes depending on the spectral distributions of the problem; 2) the convergent regimes admit explicit stability conditions, and explicit loss asymptotics in the case of power-law spectral distributions; 3) the optimal convergence rate can be achieved at negative momenta. We verify our theoretical predictions by extensive experiments with MNIST and synthetic problems, and find a good quantitative agreement.
Decentralized Local Stochastic Extra-Gradient for Variational InequalitiesNeurIPS
We consider distributed stochastic variational inequalities (VIs) on unbounded domains with the problem data that is heterogeneous (non-IID) and distributed across many devices. We make a very general assumption on the computational network that, in particular, covers the settings of fully decentralized calculations with time-varying networks and centralized topologies commonly used in Federated Learning. Moreover, multiple local updates on the workers can be made for reducing the communication frequency between the workers. We extend the stochastic extragradient method to this very general setting and theoretically analyze its convergence rate in the strongly-monotone, monotone, and non-monotone (when a Minty solution exists) settings. The provided rates explicitly exhibit the dependence on network characteristics (e.g., mixing time), iteration counter, data heterogeneity, variance, number of devices, and other standard parameters. As a special case, our method and analysis apply to distributed stochastic saddle-point problems (SPP), e.g., to the training of Deep Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) for which decentralized training has been reported to be extremely challenging. In experiments for the decentralized training of GANs we demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed approach.
Distributed Methods with Compressed Communication for Solving Variational Inequalities, with Theoretical GuaranteesNeurIPS
Variational inequalities in general and saddle point problems in particular are increasingly relevant in machine learning applications, including adversarial learning, GANs, transport and robust optimization. With increasing data and problem sizes necessary to train high performing models across various applications, we need to rely on parallel and distributed computing. However, in distributed training, communication among the compute nodes is a key bottleneck during training, and this problem is exacerbated for high dimensional and over-parameterized models. Due to these considerations, it is important to equip existing methods with strategies that would allow to reduce the volume of transmitted information during training while obtaining a model of comparable quality. In this paper, we present the first theoretically grounded distributed methods for solving variational inequalities and saddle point problems using compressed communication: MASHA1 and MASHA2. Our theory and methods allow for the use of both unbiased (such as Randk; MASHA1) and contractive (such as Topk; MASHA2) compressors. New algorithms support bidirectional compressions, and also can be modified for stochastic setting with batches and for federated learning with partial participation of clients. We empirically validated our conclusions using two experimental setups: a standard bilinear min-max problem, and large-scale distributed adversarial training of transformers.
Most machine learning algorithms build an optimization model and learn its parameters from the given data. Thus, developing effective and efficient optimization methods is of the essence.