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Escaping Saddle Points with Bias-Variance Reduced Local Perturbed SGD for Communication Efficient Nonconvex Distributed Learning

Tomoya Murata · Taiji Suzuki

Keywords: [ Local SGD ] [ nonconvex optimization ] [ escaping saddle points ] [ distributed learning ] [ communication efficiency ]

Abstract: In recent centralized nonconvex distributed learning and federated learning, local methods are one of the promising approaches to reduce communication time. However, existing work has mainly focused on studying first-order optimality guarantees. On the other side, second-order optimality guaranteed algorithms, i.e., algorithms escaping saddle points, have been extensively studied in the non-distributed optimization literature. In this paper, we study a new local algorithm called Bias-Variance Reduced Local Perturbed SGD (BVR-L-PSGD), that combines the existing bias-variance reduced gradient estimator with parameter perturbation to find second-order optimal points in centralized nonconvex distributed optimization. BVR-L-PSGD enjoys second-order optimality with nearly the same communication complexity as the best known one of BVR-L-SGD to find first-order optimality. Particularly, the communication complexity is better than non-local methods when the local datasets heterogeneity is smaller than the smoothness of the local loss. In an extreme case, the communication complexity approaches to $\widetilde \Theta(1)$ when the local datasets heterogeneity goes to zero. Numerical results validate our theoretical findings.

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