Differentiating through Log-Log Convex Programs

A. Agrawal and S. Boyd

Manuscript, posted April 2020

We show how to efficiently compute the derivative (when it exists) of the solution map of log-log convex programs (LLCPs). These are nonconvex, nonsmooth optimization problems with positive variables that become convex when the variables, objective functions, and constraint functions are replaced with their logs. We focus specifically on LLCPs generated by disciplined geometric programming, a grammar consisting of a set of atomic functions with known log-log curvature and a composition rule for combining them. We represent a parametrized LLCP as the composition of a smooth transformation of parameters, a convex optimization problem, and an exponential transformation of the convex optimization problem's solution. The derivative of this composition can be computed efficiently, using recently developed methods for differentiating through convex optimization problems. We implement our method in CVXPY, a Python-embedded modeling language and rewriting system for convex optimization. In just a few lines of code, a user can specify a parametrized LLCP, solve it, and evaluate the derivative or its adjoint at a vector. This makes it possible to conduct sensitivity analyses of solutions, given perturbations to the parameters, and to compute the gradient of a function of the solution with respect to the parameters. We use the adjoint of the derivative to implement differentiable log-log convex optimization layers in PyTorch and TensorFlow. Finally, we present applications to designing queuing systems and fitting structured prediction models.