Optimal Time Complexities of Parallel Stochastic Optimization Methods Under a Fixed Computation Model

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

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Alexander Tyurin, Peter Richtarik


Parallelization is a popular strategy for improving the performance of methods. Optimization methods are no exception: design of efficient parallel optimization methods and tight analysis of their theoretical properties are important research endeavors. While the minimax complexities are well known for sequential optimization methods, the theory of parallel optimization methods is less explored. In this paper, we propose a new protocol that generalizes the classical oracle framework approach. Using this protocol, we establish minimax complexities for parallel optimization methods that have access to an unbiased stochastic gradient oracle with bounded variance. We consider a fixed computation model characterized by each worker requiring a fixed but worker-dependent time to calculate stochastic gradient. We prove lower bounds and develop optimal algorithms that attain them. Our results have surprising consequences for the literature of asynchronous optimization methods.