One Sample Stochastic Frank-Wolfe


Mingrui Zhang, Zebang Shen, Aryan Mokhtari, Hamed Hassani, Amin Karbasi ;
Proceedings of the Twenty Third International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics, PMLR 108:4012-4023, 2020.


One of the beauties of the projected gradient descent method lies in its rather simple mechanism and yet stable behavior with inexact, stochastic gradients, which has led to its wide-spread use in many machine learning applications. However, once we replace the projection operator with a simpler linear program, as is done in the Frank-Wolfe method, both simplicity and stability take a serious hit. The aim of this paper is to bring them back without sacrificing the efficiency. In this paper, we propose the first one-sample stochastic Frank-Wolfe algorithm, called 1-SFW, that avoids the need to carefully tune the batch size, step size, learning rate, and other complicated hyper parameters. In particular, 1-SFW achieves the optimal convergence rate of $\mathcal{O}(1/\epsilon^2)$ for reaching an $\epsilon$-suboptimal solution in the stochastic convex setting, and a $(1-1/e)-\epsilon$ approximate solution for a stochastic monotone DR-submodular maximization problem. Moreover, in a general non-convex setting, 1-SFW finds an $\epsilon$-first-order stationary point after at most $\mathcal{O}(1/\epsilon^3)$ iterations, achieving the current best known convergence rate. All of this is possible by designing a novel unbiased momentum estimator that governs the stability of the optimization process while using a single sample at each iteration.

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