An Improved Convergence Analysis of Cyclic Block Coordinate Descent-type Methods for Strongly Convex Minimization


Xingguo Li, Tuo Zhao, Raman Arora, Han Liu, Mingyi Hong ;
Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics, PMLR 51:491-499, 2016.


The cyclic block coordinate descent-type (CBCD-type) methods have shown remarkable computational performance for solving strongly convex minimization problems. Typical applications include many popular statistical machine learning methods such as elastic-net regression, ridge penalized logistic regression, and sparse additive regression. Existing optimization literature has shown that the CBCD-type methods attain iteration complexity of O(p⋅\log(1/ε)), where εis a pre-specified accuracy of the objective value, and p is the number of blocks. However, such iteration complexity explicitly depends on p, and therefore is at least p times worse than those of gradient descent methods. To bridge this theoretical gap, we propose an improved convergence analysis for the CBCD-type methods. In particular, we first show that for a family of quadratic minimization problems, the iteration complexity of the CBCD-type methods matches that of the GD methods in term of dependency on p (up to a \log^2 p factor). Thus our complexity bounds are sharper than the existing bounds by at least a factor of p/\log^2p. We also provide a lower bound to confirm that our improved complexity bounds are tight (up to a \log^2 p factor) if the largest and smallest eigenvalues of the Hessian matrix do not scale with p. Finally, we generalize our analysis to other strongly convex minimization problems beyond quadratic ones.

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