The Limit Points of (Optimistic) Gradient Descent in Min-Max Optimization



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Motivated by applications in Optimization, Game Theory, and the training of Generative Adversarial Networks, the convergence properties of first order methods in min-max problems have received extensive study. It has been recognized that they may cycle, and there is no good understanding of their limit points when they do not. When they converge, do they converge to local min-max solutions? We characterize the limit points of two basic first order methods, namely Gradient Descent/Ascent (GDA) and Optimistic Gradient Descent Ascent (OGDA). We show that both dynamics avoid unstable critical points for almost all initializations. Moreover, for small step sizes and under mild assumptions, the set of OGDA-stable critical points is a superset of GDA-stable critical points, which is a superset of local min-max solutions (strict in some cases). The connecting thread is that the behavior of these dynamics can be studied from a dynamical systems perspective.

Please cite our work using the BibTeX below.

 author = {Daskalakis, Constantinos and Panageas, Ioannis},
 booktitle = {Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems},
 editor = {S. Bengio and H. Wallach and H. Larochelle and K. Grauman and N. Cesa-Bianchi and R. Garnett},
 pages = {},
 publisher = {Curran Associates, Inc.},
 title = {The Limit Points of (Optimistic) Gradient Descent in Min-Max Optimization},
 url = {},
 volume = {31},
 year = {2018}
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