Distributed Stochastic Non-Convex Optimization: Momentum-Based Variance Reduction

Prashant Khanduri, Pranay Sharma, Swatantra Kafle, Saikiran Bulusu, Ketan Rajawat, Pramod K. Varshney

In this work, we propose a distributed algorithm for stochastic non-convex optimization. We consider a worker-server architecture where a set of $K$ worker nodes (WNs) in collaboration with a server node (SN) jointly aim to minimize a global, potentially non-convex objective function. The objective function is assumed to be the sum of local objective functions available at each WN, with each node having access to only the stochastic samples of its local objective function. In contrast to the existing approaches, we employ a momentum based "single loop" distributed algorithm which eliminates the need of computing large batch size gradients to achieve variance reduction. We propose two algorithms one with "adaptive" and the other with "non-adaptive" learning rates. We show that the proposed algorithms achieve the optimal computational complexity while attaining linear speedup with the number of WNs. Specifically, the algorithms reach an $\epsilon$-stationary point $x_a$ with $\mathbb{E}\| \nabla f(x_a) \| \leq \tilde{O}(K^{-1/3}T^{-1/2} + K^{-1/3}T^{-1/3})$ in $T$ iterations, thereby requiring $\tilde{O}(K^{-1} \epsilon^{-3})$ gradient computations at each WN. Moreover, our approach does not assume identical data distributions across WNs making the approach general enough for federated learning applications.

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