Taming the Wild: A Unified Analysis of Hogwild-Style Algorithms

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 28 (NIPS 2015)

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Christopher M. De Sa, Ce Zhang, Kunle Olukotun, Christopher Ré, Christopher Ré


Stochastic gradient descent (SGD) is a ubiquitous algorithm for a variety of machine learning problems. Researchers and industry have developed several techniques to optimize SGD's runtime performance, including asynchronous execution and reduced precision. Our main result is a martingale-based analysis that enables us to capture the rich noise models that may arise from such techniques. Specifically, we useour new analysis in three ways: (1) we derive convergence rates for the convex case (Hogwild) with relaxed assumptions on the sparsity of the problem; (2) we analyze asynchronous SGD algorithms for non-convex matrix problems including matrix completion; and (3) we design and analyze an asynchronous SGD algorithm, called Buckwild, that uses lower-precision arithmetic. We show experimentally that our algorithms run efficiently for a variety of problems on modern hardware.