Accelerating Greedy Coordinate Descent Methods

ICML 2018  ·  Haihao Lu, Robert Freund, Vahab Mirrokni ·

We introduce and study two algorithms to accelerate greedy coordinate descent in theory and in practice: Accelerated Semi-Greedy Coordinate Descent (ASCD) and Accelerated Greedy Coordinate Descent (AGCD). On the theory side, our main results are for ASCD: we show that ASCD achieves $O(1/k^2)$ convergence, and it also achieves accelerated linear convergence for strongly convex functions. On the empirical side, while both AGCD and ASCD outperform Accelerated Randomized Coordinate Descent on most instances in our numerical experiments, we note that AGCD significantly outperforms the other two methods in our experiments, in spite of a lack of theoretical guarantees for this method. To complement this empirical finding for AGCD, we present an explanation why standard proof techniques for acceleration cannot work for AGCD, and we further introduce a technical condition under which AGCD is guaranteed to have accelerated convergence. Finally, we confirm that this technical condition holds in our numerical experiments.

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