Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Information and Systems Engineering

First Adviser

Takac, Martin


In this thesis, we discuss and develop randomized algorithms for big data problems. In particular, we study the finite-sum optimization with newly emerged variance- reduction optimization methods (Chapter 2), explore the efficiency of second-order information applied to both convex and non-convex finite-sum objectives (Chapter 3) and employ the fast first-order method in power system problems (Chapter 4).In Chapter 2, we propose two variance-reduced gradient algorithms – mS2GD and SARAH. mS2GD incorporates a mini-batching scheme for improving the theoretical complexity and practical performance of SVRG/S2GD, aiming to minimize a strongly convex function represented as the sum of an average of a large number of smooth con- vex functions and a simple non-smooth convex regularizer. While SARAH, short for StochAstic Recursive grAdient algoritHm and using a stochastic recursive gradient, targets at minimizing the average of a large number of smooth functions for both con- vex and non-convex cases. Both methods fall into the category of variance-reduction optimization, and obtain a total complexity of O((n+κ)log(1/ε)) to achieve an ε-accuracy solution for strongly convex objectives, while SARAH also maintains a sub-linear convergence for non-convex problems. Meanwhile, SARAH has a practical variant SARAH+ due to its linear convergence of the expected stochastic gradients in inner loops.In Chapter 3, we declare that randomized batches can be applied with second- order information, as to improve upon convergence in both theory and practice, with a framework of L-BFGS as a novel approach to finite-sum optimization problems. We provide theoretical analyses for both convex and non-convex objectives. Meanwhile, we propose LBFGS-F as a variant where Fisher information matrix is used instead of Hessian information, and prove it applicable to a distributed environment within the popular applications of least-square and cross-entropy losses.In Chapter 4, we develop fast randomized algorithms for solving polynomial optimization problems on the applications of alternating-current optimal power flows (ACOPF) in power system field. The traditional research on power system problem focuses on solvers using second-order method, while no randomized algorithms have been developed. First, we propose a coordinate-descent algorithm as an online solver, applied for solving time-varying optimization problems in power systems. We bound the difference between the current approximate optimal cost generated by our algorithm and the optimal cost for a relaxation using the most recent data from above by a function of the properties of the instance and the rate of change to the instance over time. Second, we focus on a steady-state problem in power systems, and study means of switching from solving a convex relaxation to Newton method working on a non-convex (augmented) Lagrangian of the problem.