M. Gürbüzbalaban, A. Ozdaglar, P. A. Parrilo
Convergence rate of incremental gradient and newton methods, M Gürbüzbalaban, A Ozdaglar, P Parrilo - arXiv preprint arXiv:1510.08562, 2015
Publication year: 2018

The incremental gradient method is a prominent algorithm for minimizing a finite sum of smooth convex functions, used in many contexts including large-scale data processing applications and distributed optimization over networks. It is a first-order method that processes the functions one at a time based on their gradient information. The incremental Newton method, on the other hand, is a second-order variant which exploits additionally the curvature information of the underlying functions and can therefore be faster. In this paper, we focus on the case when the objective function is strongly convex and present fast convergence results for the incremental gradient and incremental Newton methods under the constant and diminishing stepsizes. For a decaying stepsize rule αk = Θ(1/ks ) with s ∈ (0, 1], we show that the distance of the IG iterates to the optimal solution converges at rate O(1/ks ) (which translates into O(1/k2s ) rate in the suboptimality of the objective value). For s > 1/2, this improves the previous O(1/ √ k) results in distances obtained for the case when functions are non-smooth. We show that to achieve the fastest O(1/k) rate, incremental gradient needs a stepsize that requires tuning to the strong convexity parameter whereas the incremental Newton method does not. The results are based on viewing the incremental gradient method as a gradient descent method with gradient errors, devising efficient upper bounds for the gradient error to derive inequalities that relate distances of the consecutive iterates to the optimal solution and finally applying Chung’s lemmas from the stochastic approximation literature to these inequalities to determine their asymptotic behavior. In addition, we construct examples to show tightness of our rate results.