Mixed Optimization for Smooth Functions

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 26 (NIPS 2013)

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Mehrdad Mahdavi, Lijun Zhang, Rong Jin


It is well known that the optimal convergence rate for stochastic optimization of smooth functions is $[O(1/\sqrt{T})]$, which is same as stochastic optimization of Lipschitz continuous convex functions. This is in contrast to optimizing smooth functions using full gradients, which yields a convergence rate of $[O(1/T^2)]$. In this work, we consider a new setup for optimizing smooth functions, termed as {\bf Mixed Optimization}, which allows to access both a stochastic oracle and a full gradient oracle. Our goal is to significantly improve the convergence rate of stochastic optimization of smooth functions by having an additional small number of accesses to the full gradient oracle. We show that, with an $[O(\ln T)]$ calls to the full gradient oracle and an $O(T)$ calls to the stochastic oracle, the proposed mixed optimization algorithm is able to achieve an optimization error of $[O(1/T)]$.