Finding Local Minima Efficiently in Decentralized Optimization

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Wenhan Xian, Heng Huang


In this paper we study the second-order optimality of decentralized stochastic algorithm that escapes saddle point efficiently for nonconvex optimization problems. We propose a new pure gradient-based decentralized stochastic algorithm PEDESTAL with a novel convergence analysis framework to address the technical challenges unique to the decentralized stochastic setting. Our method is the first decentralized stochastic algorithm to achieve second-order optimality with non-asymptotic analysis. We provide theoretical guarantees with the gradient complexity of $\tilde{O} (\epsilon^{-3})$ to find $O(\epsilon, \sqrt{\epsilon})$-second-order stationary point, which matches state-of-the-art results of centralized counterparts or decentralized methods to find first-order stationary point. We also conduct two decentralized tasks in our experiments, a matrix sensing task with synthetic data and a matrix factorization task with a real-world dataset to validate the performance of our method.