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# Second Order Path Variationals in Non-Stationary Online Learning

*Proceedings of The 26th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics*, PMLR 206:9024-9075, 2023.

#### Abstract

We consider the problem of universal dynamic regret minimization under exp-concave and smooth losses. We show that appropriately designed Strongly Adaptive algorithms achieve a dynamic regret of $\tilde O(d^2 n^{1/5} [\mathcal{TV}_1(w_{1:n})]^{2/5} \vee d^2)$, where $n$ is the time horizon and $\mathcal{TV}_1(w_{1:n})$ a path variational based on second order differences of the comparator sequence. Such a path variational naturally encodes comparator sequences that are piece-wise linear – a powerful family that tracks a variety of non-stationarity patterns in practice (Kim et al., 2009). The aforementioned dynamic regret is shown to be optimal modulo dimension dependencies and poly-logarithmic factors of $n$. To the best of our knowledge, this path variational has not been studied in the non-stochastic online learning literature before. Our proof techniques rely on analysing the KKT conditions of the offline oracle and requires several non-trivial generalizations of the ideas in Baby and Wang (2021) where the latter work only implies an $\tilde{O}(n^{1/3})$ regret for the current problem.