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# New Projection-free Algorithms for Online Convex Optimization with Adaptive Regret Guarantees

*Proceedings of Thirty Fifth Conference on Learning Theory*, PMLR 178:2326-2359, 2022.

#### Abstract

We present new efficient \emph{projection-free} algorithms for online convex optimization (OCO), where by projection-free we refer to algorithms that avoid computing orthogonal projections onto the feasible set, and instead relay on different and potentially much more efficient oracles. While most state-of-the-art projection-free algorithms are based on the \emph{follow-the-leader} framework, our algorithms are fundamentally different and are based on the \emph{online gradient descent} algorithm with a novel and efficient approach to computing so-called \emph{infeasible projections}. As a consequence, we obtain the first projection-free algorithms which naturally yield \emph{adaptive regret} guarantees, i.e., regret bounds that hold w.r.t. any sub-interval of the sequence. Concretely, when assuming the availability of a linear optimization oracle (LOO) for the feasible set, on a sequence of length $T$, our algorithms guarantee $O(T^{3/4})$ adaptive regret and $O(T^{3/4})$ adaptive expected regret, for the full-information and bandit settings, respectively, using only $O(T)$ calls to the LOO. These bounds match the current state-of-the-art regret bounds for LOO-based projection-free OCO, which are \emph{not adaptive}. We also consider a new natural setting in which the feasible set is accessible through a separation oracle. We present algorithms which, using overall $O(T)$ calls to the separation oracle, guarantee $O(\sqrt{T})$ adaptive regret and $O(T^{3/4})$ adaptive expected regret for the full-information and bandit settings, respectively.