Momentum and stochastic momentum for stochastic gradient, Newton, proximal point and subspace descent methods

Nicolas Loizou, Peter Richtarik

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19 Scopus citations


In this paper we study several classes of stochastic optimization algorithms enriched with heavy ball momentum. Among the methods studied are: stochastic gradient descent, stochastic Newton, stochastic proximal point and stochastic dual subspace ascent. This is the first time momentum variants of several of these methods are studied. We choose to perform our analysis in a setting in which all of the above methods are equivalent: convex quadratic problems. We prove global non-asymptotic linear convergence rates for all methods and various measures of success, including primal function values, primal iterates, and dual function values. We also show that the primal iterates converge at an accelerated linear rate in a somewhat weaker sense. This is the first time a linear rate is shown for the stochastic heavy ball method (i.e., stochastic gradient descent method with momentum). Under somewhat weaker conditions, we establish a sublinear convergence rate for Cesàro averages of primal iterates. Moreover, we propose a novel concept, which we call stochastic momentum, aimed at decreasing the cost of performing the momentum step. We prove linear convergence of several stochastic methods with stochastic momentum, and show that in some sparse data regimes and for sufficiently small momentum parameters, these methods enjoy better overall complexity than methods with deterministic momentum. Finally, we perform extensive numerical testing on artificial and real datasets, including data coming from average consensus problems.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalComputational Optimization and Applications
StatePublished - Sep 23 2020


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