Continuized Accelerations of Deterministic and Stochastic Gradient Descents, and of Gossip Algorithms

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

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Mathieu Even, Raphaël Berthier, Francis Bach, Nicolas Flammarion, Hadrien Hendrikx, Pierre Gaillard, Laurent Massoulié, Adrien Taylor


We introduce the ``continuized'' Nesterov acceleration, a close variant of Nesterov acceleration whose variables are indexed by a continuous time parameter. The two variables continuously mix following a linear ordinary differential equation and take gradient steps at random times. This continuized variant benefits from the best of the continuous and the discrete frameworks: as a continuous process, one can use differential calculus to analyze convergence and obtain analytical expressions for the parameters; but a discretization of the continuized process can be computed exactly with convergence rates similar to those of Nesterov original acceleration. We show that the discretization has the same structure as Nesterov acceleration, but with random parameters. We provide continuized Nesterov acceleration under deterministic as well as stochastic gradients, with either additive or multiplicative noise. Finally, using our continuized framework and expressing the gossip averaging problem as the stochastic minimization of a certain energy function, we provide the first rigorous acceleration of asynchronous gossip algorithms.