Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022) Main Conference Track

*Luo Luo, Yujun Li, Cheng Chen*

We study the smooth minimax optimization problem $\min_{\bf x}\max_{\bf y} f({\bf x},{\bf y})$, where $f$ is $\ell$-smooth, strongly-concave in ${\bf y}$ but possibly nonconvex in ${\bf x}$. Most of existing works focus on finding the first-order stationary point of the function $f({\bf x},{\bf y})$ or its primal function $P({\bf x})\triangleq \max_{\bf y} f({\bf x},{\bf y})$, but few of them focus on achieving the second-order stationary point, which is essential to nonconvex problems. In this paper, we propose a novel approach for minimax optimization, called Minimax Cubic Newton (MCN), which could find an ${\mathcal O}\left(\varepsilon,\kappa^{1.5}\sqrt{\rho\varepsilon}\right)$-second-order stationary point of $P({\bf x})$ with calling ${\mathcal O}\left(\kappa^{1.5}\sqrt{\rho}\varepsilon^{-1.5}\right)$ times of second-order oracles and $\tilde{\mathcal O}\left(\kappa^{2}\sqrt{\rho}\varepsilon^{-1.5}\right)$ times of first-order oracles, where $\kappa$ is the condition number and $\rho$ is the Lipschitz continuous constant for the Hessian of $f({\bf x},{\bf y})$. In addition, we propose an inexact variant of MCN for high-dimensional problems to avoid calling the expensive second-order oracles. Instead, our method solves the cubic sub-problem inexactly via gradient descent and matrix Chebyshev expansion. This strategy still obtains the desired approximate second-order stationary point with high probability but only requires $\tilde{\mathcal O}\left(\kappa^{1.5}\ell\varepsilon^{-2}\right)$ Hessian-vector oracle calls and $\tilde{\mathcal O}\left(\kappa^{2}\sqrt{\rho}\varepsilon^{-1.5}\right)$ first-order oracle calls. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work that considers the non-asymptotic convergence behavior of finding second-order stationary points for minimax problems without the convex-concave assumptions.

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