Lipschitz Adaptivity with Multiple Learning Rates in Online Learning

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Zakaria Mhammedi, Wouter M Koolen, Tim Van Erven ;
Proceedings of the Thirty-Second Conference on Learning Theory, PMLR 99:2490-2511, 2019.

Abstract

We aim to design adaptive online learning algorithms that take advantage of any special structure that might be present in the learning task at hand, with as little manual tuning by the user as possible. A fundamental obstacle that comes up in the design of such adaptive algorithms is to calibrate a so-called step-size or learning rate hyperparameter depending on variance, gradient norms, etc. A recent technique promises to overcome this difficulty by maintaining multiple learning rates in parallel. This technique has been applied in the MetaGrad algorithm for online convex optimization and the Squint algorithm for prediction with expert advice. However, in both cases the user still has to provide in advance a Lipschitz hyperparameter that bounds the norm of the gradients. Although this hyperparameter is typically not available in advance, tuning it correctly is crucial: if it is set too small, the methods may fail completely; but if it is taken too large, performance deteriorates significantly. In the present work we remove this Lipschitz hyperparameter by designing new versions of MetaGrad and Squint that adapt to its optimal value automatically. We achieve this by dynamically updating the set of active learning rates. For MetaGrad, we further improve the computational efficiency of handling constraints on the domain of prediction, and we remove the need to specify the number of rounds in advance.

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