ConvergenceWarning: Liblinear failed to converge, increase the number of iterations

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Question :

ConvergenceWarning: Liblinear failed to converge, increase the number of iterations

Running the code of linear binary pattern for Adrian. This program runs but gives the following warning: ConvergenceWarning: Liblinear failed to converge, increase the number of iterations.
 "the number of iterations.", ConvergenceWarning

I am running python2.7 with opencv3.7, what should I do?

Answer #1:

Normally when an optimization algorithm does not converge, it is usually because the problem is not well-conditioned, perhaps due to a poor scaling of the decision variables. There are a few things you can try.

  1. Normalize your training data so that the problem hopefully becomes more well
    conditioned, which in turn can speed up convergence. One
    possibility is to scale your data to 0 mean, unit standard deviation using

    for an example. Note that you have to apply the StandardScaler fitted on the training data to the test data.
  2. Related to 1), make sure the other arguments such as regularization
    weight, C, is set appropriately.
  3. Set max_iter to a larger value. The default is 1000.
  4. Set dual = True if number of features > number of examples and vice versa. This solves the SVM optimization problem using the dual formulation. Thanks @Nino van Hooff for pointing this out, and @JamesKo for spotting my mistake.
  5. Use a different solver, for e.g., the L-BFGS solver if you are using Logistic Regression. See @5ervant‘s answer.

Note: One should not ignore this warning.

This warning came about because

  1. Solving the linear SVM is just solving a quadratic optimization problem. The solver is typically an iterative algorithm that keeps a running estimate of the solution (i.e., the weight and bias for the SVM).
    It stops running when the solution corresponds to an objective value that is optimal for this convex optimization problem, or when it hits the maximum number of iterations set.

  2. If the algorithm does not converge, then the current estimate of the SVM’s parameters are not guaranteed to be any good, hence the predictions can also be complete garbage.


In addition, consider the comment by @Nino van Hooff and @5ervant to use the dual formulation of the SVM. This is especially important if the number of features you have, D, is more than the number of training examples N. This is what the dual formulation of the SVM is particular designed for and helps with the conditioning of the optimization problem. Credit to @5ervant for noticing and pointing this out.

Furthermore, @5ervant also pointed out the possibility of changing the solver, in particular the use of the L-BFGS solver. Credit to him (i.e., upvote his answer, not mine).

I would like to provide a quick rough explanation for those who are interested (I am :)) why this matters in this case. Second-order methods, and in particular approximate second-order method like the L-BFGS solver, will help with ill-conditioned problems because it is approximating the Hessian at each iteration and using it to scale the gradient direction. This allows it to get better convergence rate but possibly at a higher compute cost per iteration. That is, it takes fewer iterations to finish but each iteration will be slower than a typical first-order method like gradient-descent or its variants.

For e.g., a typical first-order method might update the solution at each iteration like

x(k + 1) = x(k) – alpha(k) * gradient(f(x(k)))

where alpha(k), the step size at iteration k, depends on the particular choice of algorithm or learning rate schedule.

A second order method, for e.g., Newton, will have an update equation

x(k + 1) = x(k) – alpha(k) * Hessian(x(k))^(-1) * gradient(f(x(k)))

That is, it uses the information of the local curvature encoded in the Hessian to scale the gradient accordingly. If the problem is ill-conditioned, the gradient will be pointing in less than ideal directions and the inverse Hessian scaling will help correct this.

In particular, L-BFGS mentioned in @5ervant‘s answer is a way to approximate the inverse of the Hessian as computing it can be an expensive operation.

However, second-order methods might converge much faster (i.e., requires fewer iterations) than first-order methods like the usual gradient-descent based solvers, which as you guys know by now sometimes fail to even converge. This can compensate for the time spent at each iteration.

In summary, if you have a well-conditioned problem, or if you can make it well-conditioned through other means such as using regularization and/or feature scaling and/or making sure you have more examples than features, you probably don’t have to use a second-order method. But these days with many models optimizing non-convex problems (e.g., those in DL models), second order methods such as L-BFGS methods plays a different role there and there are evidence to suggest they can sometimes find better solutions compared to first-order methods. But that is another story.

Answered By: Fahad Mairaj

Answer #2:

I reached the point that I set, up to max_iter=1200000 on my LinearSVC classifier, but still the “ConvergenceWarning” was still present. I fix the issue by just setting dual=False and leaving max_iter to its default.

With LogisticRegression(solver='lbfgs') classifier, you should increase max_iter. Mine have reached max_iter=7600 before the “ConvergenceWarning” disappears when training with large dataset’s features.

Answered By: lightalchemist

Answer #3:

Explicitly specifying the max_iter resolves the warning as the default max_iter is 100. [For Logistic Regression].

 logreg = LogisticRegression(max_iter=1000)
Answered By: 5ervant

Answer #4:

Please incre max_iter to 10000 as default value is 1000. Possibly, increasing no. of iterations will help algorithm to converge. For me it converged and solver was -‘lbfgs’

log_reg = LogisticRegression(solver='lbfgs',class_weight='balanced', max_iter=10000)

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