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Workshop: OPT2020: Optimization for Machine Learning

Contributed Video: On the Convergence of Adaptive Gradient Methods for Nonconvex Optimization, Dongruo Zhou

Dongruo Zhou


Adaptive gradient methods are workhorses in deep learning. However, the convergence guarantees of adaptive gradient methods for nonconvex optimization have not been thoroughly studied. In this paper, we provide a fine-grained convergence analysis for a general class of adaptive gradient methods including AMSGrad, RMSProp and AdaGrad. For smooth nonconvex functions, we prove that adaptive gradient methods in expectation converge to a first-order stationary point. Our convergence rate is better than existing results for adaptive gradient methods in terms of dimension, and is strictly faster than stochastic gradient decent (SGD) when the stochastic gradients are sparse. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first result showing the advantage of adaptive gradient methods over SGD in nonconvex setting. In addition, we also prove high probability bounds on the convergence rates of AMSGrad, RMSProp as well as AdaGrad, which have not been established before. Our analyses shed light on better understanding the mechanism behind adaptive gradient methods in optimizing nonconvex objectives.