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Optimization and Control (math.OC)

Wed, 16 Aug 2023

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1.Stochastic Controlled Averaging for Federated Learning with Communication Compression

Authors:Xinmeng Huang, Ping Li, Xiaoyun Li

Abstract: Communication compression, a technique aiming to reduce the information volume to be transmitted over the air, has gained great interests in Federated Learning (FL) for the potential of alleviating its communication overhead. However, communication compression brings forth new challenges in FL due to the interplay of compression-incurred information distortion and inherent characteristics of FL such as partial participation and data heterogeneity. Despite the recent development, the performance of compressed FL approaches has not been fully exploited. The existing approaches either cannot accommodate arbitrary data heterogeneity or partial participation, or require stringent conditions on compression. In this paper, we revisit the seminal stochastic controlled averaging method by proposing an equivalent but more efficient/simplified formulation with halved uplink communication costs. Building upon this implementation, we propose two compressed FL algorithms, SCALLION and SCAFCOM, to support unbiased and biased compression, respectively. Both the proposed methods outperform the existing compressed FL methods in terms of communication and computation complexities. Moreover, SCALLION and SCAFCOM accommodates arbitrary data heterogeneity and do not make any additional assumptions on compression errors. Experiments show that SCALLION and SCAFCOM can match the performance of corresponding full-precision FL approaches with substantially reduced uplink communication, and outperform recent compressed FL methods under the same communication budget.

2.Learning to Pivot as a Smart Expert

Authors:Tianhao Liu, Shanwen Pu, Dongdong Ge, Yinyu Ye

Abstract: Linear programming has been practically solved mainly by simplex and interior point methods. Compared with the weakly polynomial complexity obtained by the interior point methods, the existence of strongly polynomial bounds for the length of the pivot path generated by the simplex methods remains a mystery. In this paper, we propose two novel pivot experts that leverage both global and local information of the linear programming instances for the primal simplex method and show their excellent performance numerically. The experts can be regarded as a benchmark to evaluate the performance of classical pivot rules, although they are hard to directly implement. To tackle this challenge, we employ a graph convolutional neural network model, trained via imitation learning, to mimic the behavior of the pivot expert. Our pivot rule, learned empirically, displays a significant advantage over conventional methods in various linear programming problems, as demonstrated through a series of rigorous experiments.

3.A Joint Electricity and Carbon Pricing Method

Authors:Yue Chen, Changhong Zhao

Abstract: The joint electricity and carbon pricing (JECP) problem is crucial for the low-carbon energy system transition. It is also challenging due to requirements such as providing incentives that can motivate market participants to follow the dispatch schedule and minimizing the impact on affected parties compared to when they were in the traditional electricity market. This letter proposes a novel JECP method based on partial carbon tax and primal-dual optimality conditions. Several nice properties of the proposed method are proven. Tests on different systems show its advantages over the two existing pricing methods.

4.Norm and time optimal control problems of stochastic heat equations

Authors:Yuanhang Liu, Donghui Yang, Jie Zhong

Abstract: This paper investigates the norm and time optimal control problems for stochastic heat equations. We begin by presenting a characterization of the norm optimal control, followed by a discussion of its properties. We then explore the equivalence between the norm optimal control and time optimal control, and subsequently establish the bang-bang property of the time optimal control. These problems, to the best of our knowledge, are among the first to discuss in the stochastic case.

5.SCQPTH: an efficient differentiable splitting method for convex quadratic programming

Authors:Andrew Butler

Abstract: We present SCQPTH: a differentiable first-order splitting method for convex quadratic programs. The SCQPTH framework is based on the alternating direction method of multipliers (ADMM) and the software implementation is motivated by the state-of-the art solver OSQP: an operating splitting solver for convex quadratic programs (QPs). The SCQPTH software is made available as an open-source python package and contains many similar features including efficient reuse of matrix factorizations, infeasibility detection, automatic scaling and parameter selection. The forward pass algorithm performs operator splitting in the dimension of the original problem space and is therefore suitable for large scale QPs with $100-1000$ decision variables and thousands of constraints. Backpropagation is performed by implicit differentiation of the ADMM fixed-point mapping. Experiments demonstrate that for large scale QPs, SCQPTH can provide a $1\times - 10\times$ improvement in computational efficiency in comparison to existing differentiable QP solvers.

6.Global solution and optimal control of an epidemic propagation with a heterogeneous diffusion

Authors:Pierluigi Colli, Gianni Gilardi, Gabriela Marinoschi

Abstract: In this paper, we explore the solvability and the optimal control problem for a compartmental model based on reaction-diffusion partial differential equations describing a transmissible disease. The nonlinear model takes into account the disease spreading due to the human social diffusion, under a dynamic heterogeneity in infection risk. The analysis of the resulting system provides the existence proof for a global solution and determines the conditions of optimality to reduce the concentration of the infected population in certain spatial areas.

7.A Framework for Data-Driven Explainability in Mathematical Optimization

Authors:Kevin-Martin Aigner, Marc Goerigk, Michael Hartisch, Frauke Liers, Arthur Miehlich

Abstract: Advancements in mathematical programming have made it possible to efficiently tackle large-scale real-world problems that were deemed intractable just a few decades ago. However, provably optimal solutions may not be accepted due to the perception of optimization software as a black box. Although well understood by scientists, this lacks easy accessibility for practitioners. Hence, we advocate for introducing the explainability of a solution as another evaluation criterion, next to its objective value, which enables us to find trade-off solutions between these two criteria. Explainability is attained by comparing against (not necessarily optimal) solutions that were implemented in similar situations in the past. Thus, solutions are preferred that exhibit similar features. Although we prove that already in simple cases the explainable model is NP-hard, we characterize relevant polynomially solvable cases such as the explainable shortest-path problem. Our numerical experiments on both artificial as well as real-world road networks show the resulting Pareto front. It turns out that the cost of enforcing explainability can be very small.

8.Digital twinning of cardiac electrophysiology models from the surface ECG: a geodesic backpropagation approach

Authors:Thomas Grandits, Jan Verhülsdonk, Gundolf Haase, Alexander Effland, Simone Pezzuto

Abstract: The eikonal equation has become an indispensable tool for modeling cardiac electrical activation accurately and efficiently. In principle, by matching clinically recorded and eikonal-based electrocardiograms (ECGs), it is possible to build patient-specific models of cardiac electrophysiology in a purely non-invasive manner. Nonetheless, the fitting procedure remains a challenging task. The present study introduces a novel method, Geodesic-BP, to solve the inverse eikonal problem. Geodesic-BP is well-suited for GPU-accelerated machine learning frameworks, allowing us to optimize the parameters of the eikonal equation to reproduce a given ECG. We show that Geodesic-BP can reconstruct a simulated cardiac activation with high accuracy in a synthetic test case, even in the presence of modeling inaccuracies. Furthermore, we apply our algorithm to a publicly available dataset of a rabbit model, with very positive results. Given the future shift towards personalized medicine, Geodesic-BP has the potential to help in future functionalizations of cardiac models meeting clinical time constraints while maintaining the physiological accuracy of state-of-the-art cardiac models.

9.Constrained Global Optimization by Smoothing

Authors:Vladimir Norkin, Alois Pichler, Anton Kozyriev

Abstract: This paper proposes a novel technique called "successive stochastic smoothing" that optimizes nonsmooth and discontinuous functions while considering various constraints. Our methodology enables local and global optimization, making it a powerful tool for many applications. First, a constrained problem is reduced to an unconstrained one by the exact nonsmooth penalty function method, which does not assume the existence of the objective function outside the feasible area and does not require the selection of the penalty coefficient. This reduction is exact in the case of minimization of a lower semicontinuous function under convex constraints. Then the resulting objective function is sequentially smoothed by the kernel method starting from relatively strong smoothing and with a gradually vanishing degree of smoothing. The finite difference stochastic gradient descent with trajectory averaging minimizes each smoothed function locally. Finite differences over stochastic directions sampled from the kernel estimate the stochastic gradients of the smoothed functions. We investigate the convergence rate of such stochastic finite-difference method on convex optimization problems. The "successive smoothing" algorithm uses the results of previous optimization runs to select the starting point for optimizing a consecutive, less smoothed function. Smoothing provides the "successive smoothing" method with some global properties. We illustrate the performance of the "successive stochastic smoothing" method on test-constrained optimization problems from the literature.

10.Differentiable Robust Model Predictive Control

Authors:Alex Oshin, Evangelos A. Theodorou

Abstract: Deterministic model predictive control (MPC), while powerful, is often insufficient for effectively controlling autonomous systems in the real-world. Factors such as environmental noise and model error can cause deviations from the expected nominal performance. Robust MPC algorithms aim to bridge this gap between deterministic and uncertain control. However, these methods are often excessively difficult to tune for robustness due to the nonlinear and non-intuitive effects that controller parameters have on performance. To address this challenge, a unifying perspective on differentiable optimization for control is presented, which enables derivation of a general, differentiable tube-based MPC algorithm. The proposed approach facilitates the automatic and real-time tuning of robust controllers in the presence of large uncertainties and disturbances.

11.Episodic Bayesian Optimal Control with Unknown Randomness Distributions

Authors:Alexander Shapiro, Enlu Zhou, Yifan Lin, Yuhao Wang

Abstract: Stochastic optimal control with unknown randomness distributions has been studied for a long time, encompassing robust control, distributionally robust control, and adaptive control. We propose a new episodic Bayesian approach that incorporates Bayesian learning with optimal control. In each episode, the approach learns the randomness distribution with a Bayesian posterior and subsequently solves the corresponding Bayesian average estimate of the true problem. The resulting policy is exercised during the episode, while additional data/observations of the randomness are collected to update the Bayesian posterior for the next episode. We show that the resulting episodic value functions and policies converge almost surely to their optimal counterparts of the true problem if the parametrized model of the randomness distribution is correctly specified. We further show that the asymptotic convergence rate of the episodic value functions is of the order $O(N^{-1/2})$. We develop an efficient computational method based on stochastic dual dynamic programming for a class of problems that have convex value functions. Our numerical results on a classical inventory control problem verify the theoretical convergence results and demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed computational method.

12.Generalizing the Min-Max Regret Criterion using Ordered Weighted Averaging

Authors:Werner Baak, Marc Goerigk, Adam Kasperski, Paweł Zieliński

Abstract: In decision making under uncertainty, several criteria have been studied to aggregate the performance of a solution over multiple possible scenarios, including the ordered weighted averaging (OWA) criterion and min-max regret. This paper introduces a novel generalization of min-max regret, leveraging the modeling power of OWA to enable a more nuanced expression of preferences in handling regret values. This new OWA regret approach is studied both theoretically and numerically. We derive several properties, including polynomially solvable and hard cases, and introduce an approximation algorithm. Through computational experiments using artificial and real-world data, we demonstrate the advantages of our OWAR method over the conventional min-max regret approach, alongside the effectiveness of the proposed clustering heuristics.