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Decentralized Learning for Overparameterized Problems: A Multi-Agent Kernel Approximation Approach

Prashant Khanduri · Haibo Yang · Mingyi Hong · Jia Liu · Hoi To Wai · Sijia Liu

Keywords: [ distributed optimization ] [ kernel learning ]

Abstract: This work develops a novel framework for communication-efficient distributed learning where the models to be learned are overparameterized. We focus on a class of kernel learning problems (which includes the popular neural tangent kernel (NTK) learning as a special case) and propose a novel {\it multi-agent kernel approximation} technique that allows the agents to distributedly estimate the full kernel function, and subsequently perform decentralized optimization, without directly exchanging any local data or parameters. The proposed framework is a significant departure from the classical consensus-based approaches, because the agents do not exchange problem parameters, and no consensus is required. We analyze the optimization and the generalization performance of the proposed framework for the $\ell_2$ loss. We show that with $M$ agents and $N$ total samples when certain generalized inner-product kernels (resp. the random features kernel) are used, each agent needs to communicate $\mathcal{O}\big({N^2}/{M}\big)$ bits (resp. $\mathcal{O}\big(N \sqrt{N}/M \big)$ real values) to achieve minimax optimal generalization performance. We validate the theoretical results on 90 UCI benchmarking datasets (with average data size $N \approx 1000$) and show that each agent needs to share a total of $200N/M$ bits (resp. $3N/M$ real values) to closely match the performance of the centralized algorithms, and these numbers are independent of parameter and feature dimensions.

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