Nonconvex optimization arises in many areas of computational science and engineering.
However, most nonconvex optimization algorithms are only known to have local
convergence or subsequence convergence properties. In this paper, we propose an algorithm
for nonconvex optimization and establish its global convergence (of the whole sequence) to
a critical point. In addition, we give its asymptotic convergence rate and numerically demonstrate
its efficiency. In our algorithm, the variables of the underlying problem are either treated
as one block or multiple disjoint blocks. It is assumed that each non-differentiable component
of the objective function, or each constraint, applies only to one block of variables. The
differentiable components of the objective function, however, can involve multiple blocks of
variables together. Our algorithm updates one block of variables at a time by minimizing a
certain prox-linear surrogate, along with an extrapolation to accelerate its convergence. The
order of update can be either deterministically cyclic or randomly shuffled for each cycle. In
fact, our convergence analysis only needs that each block be updated at least once in every
fixed number of iterations. We show its global convergence (of the whole sequence) to a
critical point under fairly loose conditions including, in particular, the Kurdyka–Łojasiewicz
condition, which is satisfied by a broad class of nonconvex/nonsmooth applications. These
results, of course, remain valid when the underlying problem is convex.We apply our convergence
results to the coordinate descent iteration for non-convex regularized linear regression,
as well as amodified rank-one residue iteration for nonnegative matrix factorization. We show that both applications have global convergence. Numerically,we tested our algorithm on nonnegative matrix and tensor factorization problems, where random shuffling clearly improves
the chance to avoid low-quality local solutions.
The stochastic gradient (SG) method can quickly solve a problem with a large number
of components in the objective, or a stochastic optimization problem, to a moderate accuracy. The
block coordinate descent/update (BCD) method, on the other hand, can quickly solve problems with
multiple (blocks of) variables. This paper introduces a method that combines the great features of
SG and BCD for problems with many components in the objective and with multiple (blocks of)
variables. This paper proposes a block SG (BSG) method for both convex and nonconvex programs.
BSG generalizes SG by updating all the blocks of variables in the Gauss–Seidel type (updating the
current block depends on the previously updated block), in either a fixed or randomly shuffled order.
Although BSG has slightly more work at each iteration, it typically outperforms SG because of
BSG’s Gauss–Seidel updates and larger step sizes, the latter of which are determined by the smaller
per-block Lipschitz constants. The convergence of BSG is established for both convex and nonconvex
cases. In the convex case, BSG has the same order of convergence rate as SG. In the nonconvex
case, its convergence is established in terms of the expected violation of a first-order optimality
condition. In both cases our analysis is nontrivial since the typical unbiasedness assumption no
longer holds. BSG is numerically evaluated on the following problems: stochastic least squares and
logistic regression, which are convex, and low-rank tensor recovery and bilinear logistic regression,
which are nonconvex. On the convex problems, BSG performed significantly better than SG. On the
nonconvex problems, BSG significantly outperformed the deterministic BCD method because the
latter tends to stagnate early near local minimizers. Overall, BSG inherits the benefits of both SG
approximation and block coordinate updates and is especially useful for solving large-scale nonconvex
This paper considers regularized block multiconvex optimization, where the feasible set and objective
function are generally nonconvex but convex in each block of variables. It also accepts nonconvex
blocks and requires these blocks to be updated by proximal minimization. We review some interesting
applications and propose a generalized block coordinate descent method. Under certain
conditions, we show that any limit point satisfies the Nash equilibrium conditions. Furthermore, we
establish global convergence and estimate the asymptotic convergence rate of the method by assuming
a property based on the Kurdyka-Lojasiewicz inequality. The proposed algorithms are tested on
nonnegative matrix and tensor factorization, as well as matrix and tensor recovery from incomplete
observations. The tests include synthetic data and hyperspectral data, as well as image sets from
the CBCL and ORL databases. Compared to the existing state-of-the-art algorithms, the proposed
algorithms demonstrate superior performance in both speed and solution quality. The MATLAB
code of nonnegative matrix/tensor decomposition and completion, along with a few demos, are
accessible from the authors' homepages.
Adult stem cells, which exist throughout the body, multiply by cell division to replenish dying cells or to promote regeneration to repair damaged tissues. To perform these functions during the lifetime of organs or tissues, stem cells need to maintain their populations in a faithful distribution of their epigenetic states, which are suscepti- ble to stochastic fluctuations during each cell division, unexpected injury, and potential genetic mutations that occur during many cell divisions. However, it remains unclear how the three processes of differentiation, proliferation, and apoptosis in regulating stem cells collectively manage these challenging tasks. Here, without consid- ering molecular details, we propose a genetic optimal control model for adult stem cell regeneration that includes the three fundamental processes, along with cell division and adaptation based on differ- ential fitnesses of phenotypes. In the model, stem cells with a distri- bution of epigenetic states are required to maximize expected performance after each cell division. We show that heteroge- neous proliferation that depends on the epigenetic states of stem cells can improve the maintenance of stem cell distributions to create balanced populations. A control strategy during each cell division leads to a feedback mechanism involving heterogeneous proliferation that can accelerate regeneration with less fluctuation in the stem cell population. When mutation is allowed, apoptosis evolves to maximize the performance during homeostasis after multiple cell divisions. The overall results highlight the importance of cross-talk between genetic and epigenetic regulation and the performance objectives during homeostasis in shaping a desirable heterogeneous distribution of stem cells in epigenetic states.
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