Towards Better Generalization of Adaptive Gradient Methods

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

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Yingxue Zhou, Belhal Karimi, Jinxing Yu, Zhiqiang Xu, Ping Li


Adaptive gradient methods such as AdaGrad, RMSprop and Adam have been optimizers of choice for deep learning due to their fast training speed. However, it was recently observed that their generalization performance is often worse than that of SGD for over-parameterized neural networks. While new algorithms such as AdaBound, SWAT, and Padam were proposed to improve the situation, the provided analyses are only committed to optimization bounds for the training objective, leaving critical generalization capacity unexplored. To close this gap, we propose \textit{\textbf{S}table \textbf{A}daptive \textbf{G}radient \textbf{D}escent} (\textsc{SAGD}) for nonconvex optimization which leverages differential privacy to boost the generalization performance of adaptive gradient methods. Theoretical analyses show that \textsc{SAGD} has high-probability convergence to a population stationary point. We further conduct experiments on various popular deep learning tasks and models. Experimental results illustrate that \textsc{SAGD} is empirically competitive and often better than baselines.