Distributed Stochastic Subgradient Projection Algorithms for Convex Optimization

S. Sundhar Ram, A. Nedić, V. V. Veeravalli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

505 Scopus citations


We consider a distributed multi-agent network system where the goal is to minimize a sum of convex objective functions of the agents subject to a common convex constraint set. Each agent maintains an iterate sequence and communicates the iterates to its neighbors. Then, each agent combines weighted averages of the received iterates with its own iterate, and adjusts the iterate by using subgradient information (known with stochastic errors) of its own function and by projecting onto the constraint set. The goal of this paper is to explore the effects of stochastic subgradient errors on the convergence of the algorithm. We first consider the behavior of the algorithm in mean, and then the convergence with probability 1 and in mean square. We consider general stochastic errors that have uniformly bounded second moments and obtain bounds on the limiting performance of the algorithm in mean for diminishing and non-diminishing stepsizes. When the means of the errors diminish, we prove that there is mean consensus between the agents and mean convergence to the optimum function value for diminishing stepsizes. When the mean errors diminish sufficiently fast, we strengthen the results to consensus and convergence of the iterates to an optimal solution with probability 1 and in mean square.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)516-545
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Optimization Theory and Applications
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Convex optimization
  • Distributed algorithm
  • Stochastic approximation
  • Subgradient methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Control and Optimization
  • Applied Mathematics


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