SEGA: Variance Reduction via Gradient Sketching

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 31 (NeurIPS 2018)

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Filip Hanzely, Konstantin Mishchenko, Peter Richtarik


<p>We propose a novel randomized first order optimization method---SEGA (SkEtched GrAdient method)---which progressively throughout its iterations builds a variance-reduced estimate of the gradient from random linear measurements (sketches) of the gradient provided at each iteration by an oracle. In each iteration, SEGA updates the current estimate of the gradient through a sketch-and-project operation using the information provided by the latest sketch, and this is subsequently used to compute an unbiased estimate of the true gradient through a random relaxation procedure. This unbiased estimate is then used to perform a gradient step. Unlike standard subspace descent methods, such as coordinate descent, SEGA can be used for optimization problems with a non-separable proximal term. We provide a general convergence analysis and prove linear convergence for strongly convex objectives. In the special case of coordinate sketches, SEGA can be enhanced with various techniques such as importance sampling, minibatching and acceleration, and its rate is up to a small constant factor identical to the best-known rate of coordinate descent.</p>