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# Log-concave sampling: Metropolis-Hastings algorithms are fast!

*Proceedings of the 31st Conference On Learning Theory*, PMLR 75:793-797, 2018.

#### Abstract

We consider the problem of sampling from a strongly log-concave density in $\mathbb{R}^d$, and prove a non-asymptotic upper bound on the mixing time of the Metropolis-adjusted Langevin algorithm (MALA). The method draws samples by running a Markov chain obtained from the discretization of an appropriate Langevin diffusion, combined with an accept-reject step to ensure the correct stationary distribution. Relative to known guarantees for the unadjusted Langevin algorithm (ULA), our bounds reveal that the use of an accept-reject step in MALA leads to an exponentially improved dependence on the error-tolerance. Concretely, in order to obtain samples with TV error at most $\delta$ for a density with condition number $\kappa$, we show that MALA requires $\mathcal{O} \big(\kappa d \log(1/\delta) \big)$ steps, as compared to the $\mathcal{O} \big(\kappa^2 d/\delta^2 \big)$ steps established in past work on ULA. We also demonstrate the gains of MALA over ULA for weakly log-concave densities. Furthermore, we derive mixing time bounds for a zeroth-order method Metropolized random walk (MRW) and show that it mixes $\mathcal{O}(\kappa d)$ slower than MALA.