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Spotlight Poster

Convex and Non-convex Optimization Under Generalized Smoothness

Haochuan Li · Jian Qian · Yi Tian · Alexander Rakhlin · Ali Jadbabaie

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #1021


Classical analysis of convex and non-convex optimization methods often requires the Lipschitz continuity of the gradient, which limits the analysis to functions bounded by quadratics. Recent work relaxed this requirement to a non-uniform smoothness condition with the Hessian norm bounded by an affine function of the gradient norm, and proved convergence in the non-convex setting via gradient clipping, assuming bounded noise. In this paper, we further generalize this non-uniform smoothness condition and develop a simple, yet powerful analysis technique that bounds the gradients along the trajectory, thereby leading to stronger results for both convex and non-convex optimization problems. In particular, we obtain the classical convergence rates for (stochastic) gradient descent and Nesterov's accelerated gradient method in the convex and/or non-convex setting under this general smoothness condition. The new analysis approach does not require gradient clipping and allows heavy-tailed noise with bounded variance in the stochastic setting.

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