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  1. We propose a randomized algorithm with quadratic convergence rate for convex optimization problems with a self-concordant, composite, strongly convex objective function. Our method is based on performing an approximate Newton step using a random projection of the Hessian. Our first contribution is to show that, at each iteration, the embedding dimension (or sketch size) can be as small as the effective dimension of the Hessian matrix. Leveraging this novel fundamental result, we design an algorithm with a sketch size proportional to the effective dimension and which exhibits a quadratic rate of convergence. This result dramatically improves on the classical linear-quadratic convergence rates of state-of-theart sub-sampled Newton methods. However, in most practical cases, the effective dimension is not known beforehand, and this raises the question of how to pick a sketch size as small as the effective dimension while preserving a quadratic convergence rate. Our second and main contribution is thus to propose an adaptive sketch size algorithm with quadratic convergence rate and which does not require prior knowledge or estimation of the effective dimension: at each iteration, it starts with a small sketch size, and increases it until quadratic progress is achieved. Importantly, we show that the embedding dimension remainsmore »proportional to the effective dimension throughout the entire path and that our method achieves state-of-the-art computational complexity for solving convex optimization programs with a strongly convex component. We discuss and illustrate applications to linear and quadratic programming, as well as logistic regression and other generalized linear models.« less
  2. In second-order optimization, a potential bottleneck can be computing the Hessian matrix of the optimized function at every iteration. Randomized sketching has emerged as a powerful technique for constructing estimates of the Hessian which can be used to perform approximate Newton steps. This involves multiplication by a random sketching matrix, which introduces a trade-off between the computational cost of sketching and the convergence rate of the optimization algorithm. A theoretically desirable but practically much too expensive choice is to use a dense Gaussian sketching matrix, which produces unbiased estimates of the exact Newton step and which offers strong problem-independent convergence guarantees. We show that the Gaussian sketching matrix can be drastically sparsified, significantly reducing the computational cost of sketching, without substantially affecting its convergence properties. This approach, called Newton LESS, is based on a recently introduced sketching technique: LEverage Score Sparsified (LESS) embeddings. We prove that Newton-LESS enjoys nearly the same problem-independent local convergence rate as Gaussian embeddings, not just up to constant factors but even down to lower order terms, for a large class of optimization tasks. In particular, this leads to a new state-of-the-art convergence result for an iterative least squares solver. Finally, we extend LESS embeddings tomore »include uniformly sparsified random sign matrices which can be implemented efficiently and which perform well in numerical experiments.« less
  3. We provide an exact analysis of a class of randomized algorithms for solving overdetermined least-squares problems. We consider first-order methods, where the gradients are pre-conditioned by an approximation of the Hessian, based on a subspace embedding of the data matrix. This class of algorithms encompasses several randomized methods among the fastest solvers for leastsquares problems. We focus on two classical embeddings, namely, Gaussian projections and subsampled randomized Hadamard transforms (SRHT). Our key technical innovation is the derivation of the limiting spectral density of SRHT embeddings. Leveraging this novel result, we derive the family of normalized orthogonal polynomials of the SRHT density and we find the optimal pre-conditioned first-order method along with its rate of convergence. Our analysis of Gaussian embeddings proceeds similarly, and leverages classical random matrix theory results. In particular, we show that for a given sketch size, SRHT embeddings exhibits a faster rate of convergence than Gaussian embeddings. Then, we propose a new algorithm by optimizing the computational complexity over the choice of the sketching dimension. To our knowledge, our resulting algorithm yields the best known complexity for solving least-squares problems with no condition number dependence.
  4. We propose a new randomized algorithm for solving L2-regularized least-squares problems based on sketching. We consider two of the most popular random embeddings, namely, Gaussian embeddings and the Subsampled Randomized Hadamard Transform (SRHT). While current randomized solvers for least-squares optimization prescribe an embedding dimension at least greater than the data dimension, we show that the embedding dimension can be reduced to the effective dimension of the optimization problem, and still preserve high-probability convergence guarantees. In this regard, we derive sharp matrix deviation inequalities over ellipsoids for both Gaussian and SRHT embeddings. Specifically, we improve on the constant of a classical Gaussian concentration bound whereas, for SRHT embeddings, our deviation inequality involves a novel technical approach. Leveraging these bounds, we are able to design a practical and adaptive algorithm which does not require to know the effective dimension beforehand. Our method starts with an initial embedding dimension equal to 1 and, over iterations, increases the embedding dimension up to the effective one at most. Hence, our algorithm improves the state-of-the-art computational complexity for solving regularized least-squares problems. Further, we show numerically that it outperforms standard iterative solvers such as the conjugate gradient method and its pre-conditioned version on several standard machinemore »learning datasets.« less
  5. We propose a new randomized algorithm for solving L2-regularized least-squares problems based on sketching. We consider two of the most popular random embeddings, namely, Gaussian embeddings and the Subsampled Randomized Hadamard Transform (SRHT). While current randomized solvers for least-squares optimization prescribe an embedding dimension at least greater than the data dimension, we show that the embedding dimension can be reduced to the effective dimension of the optimization problem, and still preserve high-probability convergence guarantees. In this regard, we derive sharp matrix deviation inequalities over ellipsoids for both Gaussian and SRHT embeddings. Specifically, we improve on the constant of a classical Gaussian concentration bound whereas, for SRHT embeddings, our deviation inequality involves a novel technical approach. Leveraging these bounds, we are able to design a practical and adaptive algorithm which does not require to know the effective dimension beforehand. Our method starts with an initial embedding dimension equal to 1 and, over iterations, increases the embedding dimension up to the effective one at most. Hence, our algorithm improves the state-of-the-art computational complexity for solving regularized least-squares problems. Further, we show numerically that it outperforms standard iterative solvers such as the conjugate gradient method and its pre-conditioned version on several standard machinemore »learning datasets.« less
  6. We propose a new randomized optimization method for high-dimensional problems which can be seen as a generalization of coordinate descent to random subspaces. We show that an adaptive sampling strategy for the random subspace significantly outperforms the oblivious sampling method, which is the common choice in the recent literature. The adaptive subspace can be efficiently generated by a correlated random matrix ensemble whose statistics mimic the input data. We prove that the improvement in the relative error of the solution can be tightly characterized in terms of the spectrum of the data matrix, and provide probabilistic upper-bounds. We then illustrate the consequences of our theory with data matrices of different spectral decay. Extensive experimental results show that the proposed approach offers significant speed ups in machine learning problems including logistic regression, kernel classification with random convolution layers and shallow neural networks with rectified linear units. Our analysis is based on convex analysis and Fenchel duality, and establishes connections to sketching and randomized matrix decompositions.
  7. Random projections or sketching are widely used in many algorithmic and learning contexts. Here we study the performance of iterative Hessian sketch for leastsquares problems. By leveraging and extending recent results from random matrix theory on the limiting spectrum of matrices randomly projected with the subsampled randomized Hadamard transform, and truncated Haar matrices, we can study and compare the resulting algorithms to a level of precision that has not been possible before. Our technical contributions include a novel formula for the second moment of the inverse of projected matrices. We also find simple closed-form expressions for asymptotically optimal step-sizes and convergence rates. These show that the convergence rate for Haar and randomized Hadamard matrices are identical, and asymptotically improve upon Gaussian random projections. These techniques may be applied to other algorithms that employ randomized dimension reduction.
  8. A classic reachability problem for safety of dynamic systems is to compute the set of initial states from which the state trajectory is guaranteed to stay inside a given constraint set over a given time horizon. In this paper, we leverage existing theory of reachability analysis and risk measures to devise a risk-sensitive reachability approach for safety of stochastic dynamic systems under non-adversarial disturbances over a finite time horizon. Specifically, we first introduce the notion of a risk-sensitive safe set asa set of initial states from which the risk of large constraint violations can be reduced to a required level via a control policy, where risk is quantified using the Conditional Value-at-Risk(CVaR) measure. Second, we show how the computation of a risk-sensitive safe set can be reduced to the solution to a Markov Decision Process (MDP), where cost is assessed according to CVaR. Third, leveraging this reduction, we devise a tractable algorithm to approximate a risk-sensitive safe set and provide arguments about its correctness. Finally, we present a realistic example inspired from stormwater catchment design to demonstrate the utility of risk-sensitive reachability analysis. In particular, our approach allows a practitioner to tune the level of risk sensitivity from worst-case (whichmore »is typical for Hamilton-Jacobi reachability analysis) to risk-neutral (which is the case for stochastic reachability analysis).« less
  9. A classic reachability problem for safety of dynamic systems is to compute the set of initial states from which the state trajectory is guaranteed to stay inside a given constraint set over a given time horizon. In this paper, we leverage existing theory of reachability analysis and risk measures to devise a risk-sensitive reachability approach for safety of stochastic dynamic systems under non-adversarial disturbances over a finite time horizon. Specifically, we first introduce the notion of a risk-sensitive safe set as a set of initial states from which the risk of large constraint violations can be reduced to a required level via a control policy, where risk is quantified using the Conditional Value-at-Risk (CVaR) measure. Second, we show how the computation of a risk-sensitive safe set can be reduced to the solution to a Markov Decision Process (MDP), where cost is assessed according to CVaR. Third, leveraging this reduction, we devise a tractable algorithm to approximate a risk-sensitive safe set, and provide theoretical arguments about its correctness. Finally, we present a realistic example inspired from stormwater catchment design to demonstrate the utility of risk-sensitive reachability analysis. In particular, our approach allows a practitioner to tune the level of risk sensitivitymore »from worst-case (which is typical for Hamilton-Jacobi reachability analysis) to risk-neutral (which is the case for stochastic reachability analysis).« less