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Online Convex Optimization with Stochastic Constraints

Neural Information Processing Systems

This paper considers online convex optimization (OCO) with stochastic constraints, which generalizes Zinkevich's OCO over a known simple fixed set by introducing multiple stochastic functional constraints that are i.i.d. generated at each round and are disclosed to the decision maker only after the decision is made. This formulation arises naturally when decisions are restricted by stochastic environments or deterministic environments with noisy observations. It also includes many important problems as special case, such as OCO with long term constraints, stochastic constrained convex optimization, and deterministic constrained convex optimization. To solve this problem, this paper proposes a new algorithm that achieves $O(\sqrt{T})$ expected regret and constraint violations and $O(\sqrt{T}\log(T))$ high probability regret and constraint violations. Experiments on a real-world data center scheduling problem further verify the performance of the new algorithm.


Online convex optimization for cumulative constraints

Neural Information Processing Systems

We propose the algorithms for online convex optimization which lead to cumulative squared constraint violations of the form $\sum\limits_{t=1}^T\big([g(x_t)]_+\big)^2=O(T^{1-\beta})$, where $\beta\in(0,1)$. Previous literature has focused on long-term constraints of the form $\sum\limits_{t=1}^Tg(x_t)$. There, strictly feasible solutions can cancel out the effects of violated constraints. In contrast, the new form heavily penalizes large constraint violations and cancellation effects cannot occur. Furthermore, useful bounds on the single step constraint violation $[g(x_t)]_+$ are derived. For convex objectives, our regret bounds generalize existing bounds, and for strongly convex objectives we give improved regret bounds. In numerical experiments, we show that our algorithm closely follows the constraint boundary leading to low cumulative violation.


Online convex optimization for cumulative constraints

Neural Information Processing Systems

We propose the algorithms for online convex optimization which lead to cumulative squared constraint violations of the form $\sum\limits_{t=1}^T\big([g(x_t)]_+\big)^2=O(T^{1-\beta})$, where $\beta\in(0,1)$. Previous literature has focused on long-term constraints of the form $\sum\limits_{t=1}^Tg(x_t)$. There, strictly feasible solutions can cancel out the effects of violated constraints. In contrast, the new form heavily penalizes large constraint violations and cancellation effects cannot occur. Furthermore, useful bounds on the single step constraint violation $[g(x_t)]_+$ are derived. For convex objectives, our regret bounds generalize existing bounds, and for strongly convex objectives we give improved regret bounds. In numerical experiments, we show that our algorithm closely follows the constraint boundary leading to low cumulative violation.


Optimization with Non-Differentiable Constraints with Applications to Fairness, Recall, Churn, and Other Goals

arXiv.org Machine Learning

We show that many machine learning goals, such as improved fairness metrics, can be expressed as constraints on the model's predictions, which we call rate constraints. We study the problem of training non-convex models subject to these rate constraints (or any non-convex and non-differentiable constraints). In the non-convex setting, the standard approach of Lagrange multipliers may fail. Furthermore, if the constraints are non-differentiable, then one cannot optimize the Lagrangian with gradient-based methods. To solve these issues, we introduce the proxy-Lagrangian formulation. This new formulation leads to an algorithm that produces a stochastic classifier by playing a two-player non-zero-sum game solving for what we call a semi-coarse correlated equilibrium, which in turn corresponds to an approximately optimal and feasible solution to the constrained optimization problem. We then give a procedure which shrinks the randomized solution down to one that is a mixture of at most $m+1$ deterministic solutions, given $m$ constraints. This culminates in algorithms that can solve non-convex constrained optimization problems with possibly non-differentiable and non-convex constraints with theoretical guarantees. We provide extensive experimental results enforcing a wide range of policy goals including different fairness metrics, and other goals on accuracy, coverage, recall, and churn.


Online Convex Optimization with Stochastic Constraints

arXiv.org Machine Learning

This paper considers online convex optimization (OCO) with stochastic constraints, which generalizes Zinkevich's OCO over a known simple fixed set by introducing multiple stochastic functional constraints that are i.i.d. generated at each round and are disclosed to the decision maker only after the decision is made. This formulation arises naturally when decisions are restricted by stochastic environments or deterministic environments with noisy observations. It also includes many important problems as special cases, such as OCO with long term constraints, stochastic constrained convex optimization, and deterministic constrained convex optimization. To solve this problem, this paper proposes a new algorithm that achieves $O(\sqrt{T})$ expected regret and constraint violations and $O(\sqrt{T}\log(T))$ high probability regret and constraint violations. Experiments on a real-world data center scheduling problem further verify the performance of the new algorithm.