An Inexact Augmented Lagrangian Framework for Nonconvex Optimization with Nonlinear Constraints

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 32 (NeurIPS 2019)

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Mehmet Fatih Sahin, Armin eftekhari, Ahmet Alacaoglu, Fabian Latorre, Volkan Cevher


We propose a practical inexact augmented Lagrangian method (iALM) for nonconvex problems with nonlinear constraints. We characterize the total computational complexity of our method subject to a verifiable geometric condition, which is closely related to the Polyak-Lojasiewicz and Mangasarian-Fromowitz conditions. In particular, when a first-order solver is used for the inner iterates, we prove that iALM finds a first-order stationary point with $\tilde{\mathcal{O}}(1/\epsilon^3)$ calls to the first-order oracle. {If, in addition, the problem is smooth and} a second-order solver is used for the inner iterates, iALM finds a second-order stationary point with $\tilde{\mathcal{O}}(1/\epsilon^5)$ calls to the second-order oracle. These complexity results match the known theoretical results in the literature. We also provide strong numerical evidence on large-scale machine learning problems, including the Burer-Monteiro factorization of semidefinite programs, and a novel nonconvex relaxation of the standard basis pursuit template. For these examples, we also show how to verify our geometric condition.