Memory and Communication Efficient Distributed Stochastic Optimization with Minibatch Prox


Jialei Wang, Weiran Wang, Nathan Srebro ;
Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Learning Theory, PMLR 65:1882-1919, 2017.


We present and analyze statistically optimal, communication and memory efficient distributed stochastic optimization algorithms with near-linear speedups (up to $\log$-factors). This improves over prior work which includes methods with near-linear speedups but polynomial communication requirements (accelerated minibatch SGD) and communication efficient methods which do not exhibit any runtime speedups over a naive single-machine approach. We first analyze a distributed SVRG variant as a distributed stochastic optimization method and show that it can achieve near-linear speedups with logarithmic rounds of communication, at the cost of high memory requirements. We then present a novel method, MB-DSVRG, which trades off memory for communication and still allows for optimization with communication which scales only logarithmically with the desired accuracy while also being memory efficient. MB-DSVRG is based on a minibatch prox procedure, solving a non-linearized subproblem on a minibatch at each iteration. We provide a novel analysis for this procedure which achieves the statistical optimal rate regardless of minibatch size and smoothness, and thus significantly improving on prior work.

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