Gower, Robert, Hanzely, Filip, Richtarik, Peter, Stich, Sebastian U.

We present the first accelerated randomized algorithm for solving linear systems in Euclidean spaces. One essential problem of this type is the matrix inversion problem. In particular, our algorithm can be specialized to invert positive definite matrices in such a way that all iterates (approximate solutions) generated by the algorithm are positive definite matrices themselves. This opens the way for many applications in the field of optimization and machine learning. As an application of our general theory, we develop the first accelerated (deterministic and stochastic) quasi-Newton updates. Our updates lead to provably more aggressive approximations of the inverse Hessian, and lead to speed-ups over classical non-accelerated rules in numerical experiments. Experiments with empirical risk minimization show that our rules can accelerate training of machine learning models.

Hanzely, Filip, Mishchenko, Konstantin, Richtarik, Peter

We propose a novel randomized first order optimization method---SEGA (SkEtched GrAdient method)---which progressively throughout its iterations builds a variance-reduced estimate of the gradient from random linear measurements (sketches) of the gradient provided at each iteration by an oracle. In each iteration, SEGA updates the current estimate of the gradient through a sketch-and-project operation using the information provided by the latest sketch, and this is subsequently used to compute an unbiased estimate of the true gradient through a random relaxation procedure. This unbiased estimate is then used to perform a gradient step. Unlike standard subspace descent methods, such as coordinate descent, SEGA can be used for optimization problems with a non-separable proximal term. We provide a general convergence analysis and prove linear convergence for strongly convex objectives. In the special case of coordinate sketches, SEGA can be enhanced with various techniques such as importance sampling, minibatching and acceleration, and its rate is up to a small constant factor identical to the best-known rate of coordinate descent.

Hanzely, Filip, Mishchenko, Konstantin, Richtarik, Peter

Richtárik, Peter, Takáč, Martin

We develop a family of reformulations of an arbitrary consistent linear system into a stochastic problem. The reformulations are governed by two user-defined parameters: a positive definite matrix defining a norm, and an arbitrary discrete or continuous distribution over random matrices. Our reformulation has several equivalent interpretations, allowing for researchers from various communities to leverage their domain specific insights. In particular, our reformulation can be equivalently seen as a stochastic optimization problem, stochastic linear system, stochastic fixed point problem and a probabilistic intersection problem. We prove sufficient, and necessary and sufficient conditions for the reformulation to be exact. Further, we propose and analyze three stochastic algorithms for solving the reformulated problem---basic, parallel and accelerated methods---with global linear convergence rates. The rates can be interpreted as condition numbers of a matrix which depends on the system matrix and on the reformulation parameters. This gives rise to a new phenomenon which we call stochastic preconditioning, and which refers to the problem of finding parameters (matrix and distribution) leading to a sufficiently small condition number. Our basic method can be equivalently interpreted as stochastic gradient descent, stochastic Newton method, stochastic proximal point method, stochastic fixed point method, and stochastic projection method, with fixed stepsize (relaxation parameter), applied to the reformulations.

Loizou, Nicolas, Richtárik, Peter

In this paper we present a convergence rate analysis of inexact variants of several randomized iterative methods. Among the methods studied are: stochastic gradient descent, stochastic Newton, stochastic proximal point and stochastic subspace ascent. A common feature of these methods is that in their update rule a certain sub-problem needs to be solved exactly. We relax this requirement by allowing for the sub-problem to be solved inexactly. In particular, we propose and analyze inexact randomized iterative methods for solving three closely related problems: a convex stochastic quadratic optimization problem, a best approximation problem and its dual, a concave quadratic maximization problem. We provide iteration complexity results under several assumptions on the inexactness error. Inexact variants of many popular and some more exotic methods, including randomized block Kaczmarz, randomized Gaussian Kaczmarz and randomized block coordinate descent, can be cast as special cases. Numerical experiments demonstrate the benefits of allowing inexactness.