Radial Duality Part I: Foundations

(Renegar, 2016) introduced a novel approach to transforming generic conic optimization problems into unconstrained, uniformly Lipschitz continuous minimization. We introduce radial transformations generalizing these ideas, equipped with an entirely new motivation and development that avoids any reliance on convex cones or functions. Perhaps of greatest practical importance, this facilitates the development of new families of projection-free first-order methods applicable even in the presence of nonconvex objectives and constraint sets. Our generalized construction of this radial transformation uncovers that it is dual (i.e., self-inverse) for a wide range of functions including all concave objectives. This gives a powerful new duality relating optimization problems to their radially dual problem. For a broad class of functions, we characterize continuity, differentiability, and convexity under the radial transformation as well as develop a calculus for it. This radial duality provides a strong foundation for designing projection-free radial optimization algorithms, which is carried out in the second part of this work.


Unpublished, Cornell 5/2021



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