Distributed Dual Averaging In Networks

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 23 (NIPS 2010)

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Alekh Agarwal, Martin J. Wainwright, John C. Duchi


The goal of decentralized optimization over a network is to optimize a global objective formed by a sum of local (possibly nonsmooth) convex functions using only local computation and communication. We develop and analyze distributed algorithms based on dual averaging of subgradients, and we provide sharp bounds on their convergence rates as a function of the network size and topology. Our analysis clearly separates the convergence of the optimization algorithm itself from the effects of communication constraints arising from the network structure. We show that the number of iterations required by our algorithm scales inversely in the spectral gap of the network. The sharpness of this prediction is confirmed both by theoretical lower bounds and simulations for various networks.