Decentralize and Randomize: Faster Algorithm for Wasserstein Barycenters

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 31 (NeurIPS 2018)

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Pavel Dvurechenskii, Darina Dvinskikh, Alexander Gasnikov, Cesar Uribe, Angelia Nedich


We study the decentralized distributed computation of discrete approximations for the regularized Wasserstein barycenter of a finite set of continuous probability measures distributedly stored over a network. We assume there is a network of agents/machines/computers, and each agent holds a private continuous probability measure and seeks to compute the barycenter of all the measures in the network by getting samples from its local measure and exchanging information with its neighbors. Motivated by this problem, we develop, and analyze, a novel accelerated primal-dual stochastic gradient method for general stochastic convex optimization problems with linear equality constraints. Then, we apply this method to the decen- tralized distributed optimization setting to obtain a new algorithm for the distributed semi-discrete regularized Wasserstein barycenter problem. Moreover, we show explicit non-asymptotic complexity for the proposed algorithm. Finally, we show the effectiveness of our method on the distributed computation of the regularized Wasserstein barycenter of univariate Gaussian and von Mises distributions, as well as some applications to image aggregation.