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# Communication-Efficient Distributed SVD via Local Power Iterations

*Proceedings of the 38th International Conference on Machine Learning*, PMLR 139:6504-6514, 2021.

#### Abstract

We study distributed computing of the truncated singular value decomposition (SVD). We develop an algorithm that we call \texttt{LocalPower} for improving communication efficiency. Specifically, we uniformly partition the dataset among $m$ nodes and alternate between multiple (precisely $p$) local power iterations and one global aggregation. In the aggregation, we propose to weight each local eigenvector matrix with orthogonal Procrustes transformation (OPT). As a practical surrogate of OPT, sign-fixing, which uses a diagonal matrix with $\pm 1$ entries as weights, has better computation complexity and stability in experiments. We theoretically show that under certain assumptions \texttt{LocalPower} lowers the required number of communications by a factor of $p$ to reach a constant accuracy. We also show that the strategy of periodically decaying $p$ helps obtain high-precision solutions. We conduct experiments to demonstrate the effectiveness of \texttt{LocalPower}.