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Title: Improved Convergence in High Probability of Clipped Gradient Methods with Heavy Tailed Noise
In this work, we study the convergence in high probability of clipped gradient methods when the noise distribution has heavy tails, i.e., with bounded $p$th moments, for some $1< p \leq 2$. Prior works in this setting follow the same recipe of using concentration inequalities and an inductive argument with union bound to bound the iterates across all iterations. This method results in an increase in the failure probability by a factor of $T$, where $T$ is the number of iterations. We instead propose a new analysis approach based on bounding the moment generating function of a well chosen supermartingale sequence. We improve the dependency on $T$ in the convergence guarantee for a wide range of algorithms with clipped gradients, including stochastic (accelerated) mirror descent for convex objectives and stochastic gradient descent for nonconvex objectives. Our high probability bounds achieve the optimal convergence rates and match the best currently known in-expectation bounds. Our approach naturally allows the algorithms to use time-varying step sizes and clipping parameters when the time horizon is unknown, which appears difficult or even impossible using existing techniques from prior works. Furthermore, we show that in the case of clipped stochastic mirror descent, several problem constants, including the initial distance to the optimum, are not required when setting step sizes and clipping parameters.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1750333 1908510
NSF-PAR ID:
10488805
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Neural Information Processing Systems
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Advances in neural information processing systems
ISSN:
1049-5258
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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