An Online Algorithm for Smoothed Regression and LQR Control

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Gautam Goel, Adam Wierman ;
Proceedings of Machine Learning Research, PMLR 89:2504-2513, 2019.

Abstract

We consider Online Convex Optimization (OCO) in the setting where the costs are $m$-strongly convex and the online learner pays a switching cost for changing decisions between rounds. We show that the recently proposed Online Balanced Descent (OBD) algorithm is constant competitive in this setting, with competitive ratio $3 + O(1/m)$, irrespective of the ambient dimension. Additionally, we show that when the sequence of cost functions is $\epsilon$-smooth, OBD has near-optimal dynamic regret and maintains strong per-round accuracy. We demonstrate the generality of our approach by showing that the OBD framework can be used to construct competitive algorithms for a variety of online problems across learning and control, including online variants of ridge regression, logistic regression, maximum likelihood estimation, and LQR control.

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