Accelerating Limited-Memory Quasi-Newton Convergence for Large-Scale Optimization


Quasi-Newton methods are popular gradient-based optimization methods that can achieve rapid convergence using only first-order derivatives. However, the choice of the initial Hessian matrix upon which quasi-Newton updates are applied is an important factor that can significantly affect the performance of the method. This fact is especially true for limited-memory variants, which are widely used for large-scale problems where only a small number of updates are applied in order to minimize the memory footprint. In this paper, we introduce both a scalar and a sparse diagonal Hessian initialization framework, and we investigate its effect on the restricted Broyden-class of quasi-Newton methods. Our implementation in PETSc/TAO allows us to switch between different Broyden class methods and Hessian initializations at runtime, enabling us to quickly perform parameter studies and identify the best choices. The results indicate that a sparse Hessian initialization based on the diagonalization of the BFGS formula significantly improves the base BFGS methods and that other parameter combinations in the Broyden class may offer competitive performance.

International Conference on Computational Science 2019, Faro, Portugal