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# Mirrorless Mirror Descent: A Natural Derivation of Mirror Descent

*Proceedings of The 24th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics*, PMLR 130:2305-2313, 2021.

#### Abstract

We present a direct (primal only) derivation of Mirror Descent as a “partial” discretization of gradient flow on a Riemannian manifold where the metric tensor is the Hessian of the Mirror Descent potential function. We contrast this discretization to Natural Gradient Descent, which is obtained by a “full” forward Euler discretization. This view helps shed light on the relationship between the methods and allows generalizing Mirror Descent to any Riemannian geometry in $\mathbb{R}^d$, even when the metric tensor is not a Hessian, and thus there is no “dual.”