Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 32 (NeurIPS 2019)
Yi Xu, Rong Jin, Tianbao Yang
Stochastic Proximal Gradient (SPG) methods have been widely used for solving optimization problems with a simple (possibly non-smooth) regularizer in machine learning and statistics. However, to the best of our knowledge no non-asymptotic convergence analysis of SPG exists for non-convex optimization with a non-smooth and non-convex regularizer. All existing non-asymptotic analysis of SPG for solving non-smooth non-convex problems require the non-smooth regularizer to be a convex function, and hence are not applicable to a non-smooth non-convex regularized problem. This work initiates the analysis to bridge this gap and opens the door to non-asymptotic convergence analysis of non-smooth non-convex regularized problems. We analyze several variants of mini-batch SPG methods for minimizing a non-convex objective that consists of a smooth non-convex loss and a non-smooth non-convex regularizer. Our contributions are two-fold: (i) we show that they enjoy the same complexities as their counterparts for solving convex regularized non-convex problems in terms of finding an approximate stationary point; (ii) we develop more practical variants using dynamic mini-batch size instead of a fixed mini-batch size without requiring the target accuracy level of solution. The significance of our results is that they improve upon the-state-of-art results for solving non-smooth non-convex regularized problems. We also empirically demonstrate the effectiveness of the considered SPG methods in comparison with other peer stochastic methods.