Spotlight
Beyond Online Balanced Descent: An Optimal Algorithm for Smoothed Online Optimization
Gautam Goel · Yiheng Lin · Haoyuan Sun · Adam Wierman

Wed Dec 11th 04:40 -- 04:45 PM @ West Exhibition Hall B

We study online convex optimization in a setting where the learner seeks to minimize the sum of a per-round hitting cost and a movement cost which is incurred when changing decisions between rounds. We prove a new lower bound on the competitive ratio of any online algorithm in the setting where the costs are $m$-strongly convex and the movement costs are the squared $\ell2$ norm. This lower bound shows that no algorithm can achieve a competitive ratio that is $o(m^{-1/2})$ as $m$ tends to zero. No existing algorithms have competitive ratios matching this bound, and we show that the state-of-the-art algorithm, Online Balanced Decent (OBD), has a competitive ratio that is $\Omega(m^{-2/3})$. We additionally propose two new algorithms, Greedy OBD (G-OBD) and Regularized OBD (R-OBD) and prove that both algorithms have an $O(m^{-1/2})$ competitive ratio. The result for G-OBD holds when the hitting costs are quasiconvex and the movement costs are the squared $\ell2$ norm, while the result for R-OBD holds when the hitting costs are $m$-strongly convex and the movement costs are Bregman Divergences. Further, we show that R-OBD simultaneously achieves constant, dimension-free competitive ratio and sublinear regret when hitting costs are strongly convex.

Author Information

Gautam Goel (Caltech)
Yiheng Lin (Institute for Interdisciplinary Information Sciences, Tsinghua University)
Haoyuan Sun (California Institute of Technology)
Adam Wierman (California Institute of Technology)

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