The Sound of APALM Clapping: Faster Nonsmooth Nonconvex Optimization with Stochastic Asynchronous PALM

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 29 (NIPS 2016)

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Damek Davis, Brent Edmunds, Madeleine Udell


We introduce the Stochastic Asynchronous Proximal Alternating Linearized Minimization (SAPALM) method, a block coordinate stochastic proximal-gradient method for solving nonconvex, nonsmooth optimization problems. SAPALM is the first asynchronous parallel optimization method that provably converges on a large class of nonconvex, nonsmooth problems. We prove that SAPALM matches the best known rates of convergence --- among synchronous or asynchronous methods --- on this problem class. We provide upper bounds on the number of workers for which we can expect to see a linear speedup, which match the best bounds known for less complex problems, and show that in practice SAPALM achieves this linear speedup. We demonstrate state-of-the-art performance on several matrix factorization problems.