AAAI 2024
Conference paper

On Partial Optimal Transport: Revising the Infeasibility of Sinkhorn and Efficient Gradient Methods


This paper studies the Partial Optimal Transport (POT) problem between two unbalanced measures with at most $n$ supports and its applications in various AI tasks such as color transfer or domain adaptation. There is hence the need for fast approximations of POT with increasingly large problem sizes in arising applications. We first theoretically and experimentally investigate the infeasibility of the state-of-the-art Sinkhorn algorithm for POT due to its incompatible rounding procedure, which consequently degrades its qualitative performance in real world applications like point-cloud registration. To this end, we propose a novel rounding algorithm for POT, and then provide a feasible Sinkhorn procedure with a revised computation complexity of $\mathcal{\widetilde O}(n^2/\varepsilon^4)$. Our rounding algorithm also permits the development of two first-order methods to approximate the POT problem. The first algorithm, Adaptive Primal-Dual Accelerated Gradient Descent (APDAGD), finds an $\varepsilon$-approximate solution to the POT problem in $\mathcal{\widetilde O}(n^{2.5}/\varepsilon)$, which is better in $\varepsilon$ than revised Sinkhorn. The second method, Dual Extrapolation, achieves the computation complexity of $\mathcal{\widetilde O}(n^2/\varepsilon)$, thereby being the best in the literature. We further demonstrate the flexibility of POT compared to standard OT as well as the practicality of our algorithms on real applications where two marginal distributions are unbalanced.