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# Can Stochastic Zeroth-Order Frank-Wolfe Method Converge Faster for Non-Convex Problems?

*Proceedings of the 37th International Conference on Machine Learning*, PMLR 119:3377-3386, 2020.

#### Abstract

Frank-Wolfe algorithm is an efficient method for optimizing non-convex constrained problems. However, most of existing methods focus on the first-order case. In real-world applications, the gradient is not always available. To address the problem of lacking gradient in many applications, we propose two new stochastic zeroth-order Frank-Wolfe algorithms and theoretically proved that they have a faster convergence rate than existing methods for non-convex problems. Specifically, the function queries oracle of the proposed faster zeroth-order Frank-Wolfe (FZFW) method is $O(\frac{n^{1/2}d}{\epsilon^2})$ which can match the iteration complexity of the first-order counterpart approximately. As for the proposed faster zeroth-order conditional gradient sliding (FZCGS) method, its function queries oracle is improved to $O(\frac{n^{1/2}d}{\epsilon})$, indicating that its iteration complexity is even better than that of its first-order counterpart NCGS-VR. In other words, the iteration complelxity of the accelerated first-order Frank-Wolfe method NCGS-VR is suboptimal. Then, we proposed a new algorithm to improve its IFO (incremental first-order oracle) to $O(\frac{n^{1/2}}{\epsilon})$. At last, the empirical studies on benchmark datasets validate our theoretical results.