We consider a generic convex optimization problem associated with regularized empirical risk minimization of linear predictors. The problem structure allows us to reformulate it as a convex-concave saddle point problem. We propose a stochastic primal-dual coordinate (SPDC) method, which alternates between maximizing over a randomly chosen dual variable and minimizing over the primal variable. An extrapolation step on the primal variable is performed to obtain accelerated convergence rate. We also develop a mini-batch version of the SPDC method which facilitates parallel computing, and an extension with weighted sampling probabilities on the dual variables, which has a better complexity than uniform sampling on unnormalized data. Both theoretically and empirically, we show that the SPDC method has comparable or better performance than several state-of-the-art optimization methods.
Microsoft Research Technical Report: MSR-TR-2014-123, September 2014. (arXiv.1409.3257)