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Removing the Curse of Superefficiency: an Effective Strategy For Distributed Computing in Isotonic Regression

by   Moulinath Banerjee, et al.

We propose a strategy for computing the isotonic least-squares estimate of a monotone function in a general regression setting where the data are distributed across different servers and the observations across servers, though independent, can come from heterogeneous sub-populations, thereby violating the identically distributed assumption. Our strategy fixes the super-efficiency phenomenon observed in prior work on distributed computing in the isotonic regression framework, where averaging several isotonic estimates (each computed at a local server) on a central server produces super-efficient estimates that do not replicate the properties of the global isotonic estimator, i.e. the isotonic estimate that would be constructed by transferring all the data to a single server. The new estimator proposed in this paper works by smoothing the data on each local server, communicating the smoothed summaries to the central server, and then computing an isotonic estimate at the central server, and is shown to replicate the asymptotic properties of the global estimator, and also overcome the super-efficiency phenomenon exhibited by earlier estimators. For data on N observations, the new estimator can be constructed by transferring data just over order N^1/3 across servers [as compared to transferring data of order N to compute the global isotonic estimator], and requires the same order of computing time as the global estimator.


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