A Unified Theory of Decentralized SGD with Changing Topology and Local Updates

Jul 12, 2020

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Decentralized stochastic optimization methods have gained a lot of attention recently, mainly because of their cheap per iteration cost, data locality, and their communication-efficiency. In this paper we introduce a unified convergence analysis that covers a large variety of decentralized SGD methods which so far have required different intuitions, have different applications, and which have been developed separately in various communities. Our algorithmic framework covers local SGD updates and synchronous and pairwise gossip updates on adaptive network topology. We derive universal convergence rates for smooth (convex and non-convex) problems and the rates interpolate between the heterogeneous (non-identically distributed data) and iid-data settings, recovering linear convergence rates in many special cases, for instance for over-parametrized models. Our proofs rely on weak assumptions (typically improving over prior work in several aspects) and recover (and improve) the best known complexity results for a host of important scenarios, such as for instance coorperative SGD and federated averaging (local SGD).

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The International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) is the premier gathering of professionals dedicated to the advancement of the branch of artificial intelligence known as machine learning. ICML is globally renowned for presenting and publishing cutting-edge research on all aspects of machine learning used in closely related areas like artificial intelligence, statistics and data science, as well as important application areas such as machine vision, computational biology, speech recognition, and robotics. ICML is one of the fastest growing artificial intelligence conferences in the world. Participants at ICML span a wide range of backgrounds, from academic and industrial researchers, to entrepreneurs and engineers, to graduate students and postdocs.

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