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# Quadratic Memory is Necessary for Optimal Query Complexity in Convex Optimization: Center-of-Mass is Pareto-Optimal

*Proceedings of Thirty Sixth Conference on Learning Theory*, PMLR 195:4696-4736, 2023.

#### Abstract

We give query complexity lower bounds for convex optimization and the related feasibility problem. We show that quadratic memory is necessary to achieve the optimal oracle complexity for first-order convex optimization. In particular, this shows that center-of-mass cutting-planes algorithms in dimension $d$ which use $\tilde O(d^2)$ memory and $\tilde O(d)$ queries are Pareto-optimal for both convex optimization and the feasibility problem, up to logarithmic factors. Precisely, we prove that to minimize $1$-Lipschitz convex functions over the unit ball to $1/d^4$ accuracy, any deterministic first-order algorithms using at most $d^{2-\delta}$ bits of memory must make $\tilde\Omega(d^{1+\delta/3})$ queries, for any $\delta\in[0,1]$. For the feasibility problem, in which an algorithm only has access to a separation oracle, we show a stronger trade-off: for at most $d^{2-\delta}$ memory, the number of queries required is $\tilde\Omega(d^{1+\delta})$. This resolves a COLT 2019 open problem of Woodworth and Srebro.