On Robust Optimal Transport: Computational Complexity and Barycenter Computation

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 (NeurIPS 2021)

Bibtex Paper Reviews And Public Comment » Supplemental


Khang Le, Huy Nguyen, Quang M Nguyen, Tung Pham, Hung Bui, Nhat Ho


We consider robust variants of the standard optimal transport, named robust optimal transport, where marginal constraints are relaxed via Kullback-Leibler divergence. We show that Sinkhorn-based algorithms can approximate the optimal cost of robust optimal transport in $\widetilde{\mathcal{O}}(\frac{n^2}{\varepsilon})$ time, in which $n$ is the number of supports of the probability distributions and $\varepsilon$ is the desired error. Furthermore, we investigate a fixed-support robust barycenter problem between $m$ discrete probability distributions with at most $n$ number of supports and develop an approximating algorithm based on iterative Bregman projections (IBP). For the specific case $m = 2$, we show that this algorithm can approximate the optimal barycenter value in $\widetilde{\mathcal{O}}(\frac{mn^2}{\varepsilon})$ time, thus being better than the previous complexity $\widetilde{\mathcal{O}}(\frac{mn^2}{\varepsilon^2})$ of the IBP algorithm for approximating the Wasserstein barycenter.