Global Convergence and Variance Reduction for a Class of Nonconvex-Nonconcave Minimax Problems

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 pre-proceedings (NeurIPS 2020)

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Junchi Yang, Negar Kiyavash, Niao He


<p>Nonconvex minimax problems appear frequently in emerging machine learning applications, such as generative adversarial networks and adversarial learning. Simple algorithms such as the gradient descent ascent (GDA) are the common practice for solving these nonconvex games and receive lots of empirical success. Yet, it is known that these vanilla GDA algorithms with constant stepsize can potentially diverge even in the convex setting. In this work, we show that for a subclass of nonconvex-nonconcave objectives satisfying a so-called two-sided Polyak-{\L}ojasiewicz inequality, the alternating gradient descent ascent (AGDA) algorithm converges globally at a linear rate and the stochastic AGDA achieves a sublinear rate. We further develop a variance reduced algorithm that attains a provably faster rate than AGDA when the problem has the finite-sum structure. </p>