Google Research

Adaptive Sampling of SGD by Exploiting Side Information

  • Siddharth Gopal
International Conference in Machine Learning (2016) (to appear)


This paper proposes a new mechanism for sampling training instances for stochastic gradient descent (SGD) methods by exploiting any side-information associated with the instances (for e.g. class-labels) to improve convergence. Previous methods have either relied on sampling from a distribution defined over training instances or from a static distribution. This results in two problems a) any distribution that is set apriori is independent of how the optimization progresses and b) maintaining a distribution over individual instances could be infeasible in large-scale scenarios. In this paper, we exploit the side information associated with the instances to tackle both problems. More specifically, we maintain a distribution over classes (instead of individual instances) that is adaptively estimated during the course of optimization to give the maximum reduction in the variance of the gradient. Intuitively, we sample more from those regions in space that have a \textit{larger} gradient contribution. Our experiments on highly multiclass datasets show that our proposal converge significantly faster than existing techniques.

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