Publication
AAAI 2022
Conference paper

Zeroth-order Optimization for Composite Problems with Functional Constraints

Abstract

In many real-world problems, first-order (FO) derivative evaluations are too expensive or even inaccessible. For solving these problems, zeroth-order (ZO) methods that only need function evaluations are often more efficient than FO methods or sometimes the only options. In this paper, we propose a novel zeroth-order inexact augmented Lagrangian method (ZO-iALM) to solve black-box optimization problems, which involve a composite (i.e., smooth+nonsmooth) objective and functional constraints. Under a certain regularity condition (also assumed by several existing works on FO methods), the query complexity of our ZO-iALM is $\tilde{O}(d\vareps^{-3})$ to find an $\vareps$-KKT point for problems with a nonconvex objective and nonconvex constraints, and $\tilde{O}(d\vareps^{-\frac{5}{2}})$ for nonconvex problems with convex constraints, where $d$ is the variable dimension. This appears to be the first work that develops an iALM-based ZO method for functional constrained optimization and meanwhile achieves query complexity results matching the best-known FO complexity results up to a factor of $d$. With an extensive experimental study, we show the effectiveness of our method. The applications of our method span from classical optimization problems to practical machine learning examples such as resource allocation in sensor networks and adversarial example generation.

Date

21 Feb 2022

Publication

AAAI 2022

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