Similarity, Compression and Local Steps: Three Pillars of Efficient Communications for Distributed Variational Inequalities

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

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Aleksandr Beznosikov, Martin Takac, Alexander Gasnikov


Variational inequalities are a broad and flexible class of problems that includes minimization, saddle point, and fixed point problems as special cases. Therefore, variational inequalities are used in various applications ranging from equilibrium search to adversarial learning. With the increasing size of data and models, today's instances demand parallel and distributed computing for real-world machine learning problems, most of which can be represented as variational inequalities. Meanwhile, most distributed approaches have a significant bottleneck -- the cost of communications. The three main techniques to reduce the total number of communication rounds and the cost of one such round are the similarity of local functions, compression of transmitted information, and local updates. In this paper, we combine all these approaches. Such a triple synergy did not exist before for variational inequalities and saddle problems, nor even for minimization problems. The methods presented in this paper have the best theoretical guarantees of communication complexity and are significantly ahead of other methods for distributed variational inequalities. The theoretical results are confirmed by adversarial learning experiments on synthetic and real datasets.