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Parameter-Agnostic Optimization under Relaxed Smoothness

Florian Hübler · Junchi Yang · Xiang Li · Niao He

MR1 & MR2 - Number 142
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Sat 4 May 6 a.m. PDT — 8:30 a.m. PDT

Abstract: Tuning hyperparameters, such as the stepsize, presents a major challenge of training machine learning models. To address this challenge, numerous adaptive optimization algorithms have been developed that achieve near-optimal complexities, even when stepsizes are independent of problem-specific parameters, provided that the loss function is $L$-smooth. However, as the assumption is relaxed to the more realistic $(L_0, L_1)$-smoothness, all existing convergence results still necessitate tuning of the stepsize. In this study, we demonstrate that Normalized Stochastic Gradient Descent with Momentum (NSGD-M) can achieve a (nearly) rate-optimal complexity without prior knowledge of any problem parameter, though this comes at the cost of introducing an exponential term dependent on $L_1$ in the complexity. We further establish that this exponential term is inevitable to such schemes by introducing a theoretical framework of lower bounds tailored explicitly for parameter-agnostic algorithms. Interestingly, in deterministic settings, the exponential factor can be neutralized by employing Gradient Descent with a Backtracking Line Search. To the best of our knowledge, these findings represent the first parameter-agnostic convergence results under the generalized smoothness condition. Our empirical experiments further confirm our theoretical insights.

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