Zeroth-order Stochastic Compositional Algorithms for Risk-Aware Learning

12/19/2019 ∙ by Dionysios S. Kalogerias, et al. ∙ 0

We present Free-MESSAGEp, the first zeroth-order algorithm for convex mean-semideviation-based risk-aware learning, which is also the first three-level zeroth-order compositional stochastic optimization algorithm, whatsoever. Using a non-trivial extension of Nesterov's classical results on Gaussian smoothing, we develop the Free-MESSAGEp algorithm from first principles, and show that it essentially solves a smoothed surrogate to the original problem, the former being a uniform approximation of the latter, in a useful, convenient sense. We then present a complete analysis of the Free-MESSAGEp algorithm, which establishes convergence in a user-tunable neighborhood of the optimal solutions of the original problem, as well as explicit convergence rates for both convex and strongly convex costs. Orderwise, and for fixed problem parameters, our results demonstrate no sacrifice in convergence speed compared to existing first-order methods, while striking a certain balance among the condition of the problem, its dimensionality, as well as the accuracy of the obtained results, naturally extending previous results in zeroth-order risk-neutral learning.

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