Convergence of Entropic Schemes for Optimal Transport and Gradient Flows

Abstract : Replacing positivity constraints by an entropy barrier is popular to approximate solutions of linear programs. In the special case of the optimal transport problem, this technique dates back to the early work of Schr\"odinger. This approach has recently been used successfully to solve optimal transport related problems in several applied fields such as imaging sciences, machine learning and social sciences. The main reason for this success is that, in contrast to linear programming solvers, the resulting algorithms are highly parallelizable and take advantage of the geometry of the computational grid (e.g. an image or a triangulated mesh). The first contribution of this article is the proof of the Γ-convergence of the entropic regularized optimal transport problem towards the Monge-Kantorovich problem for the squared Euclidean norm cost function. This implies in particular the convergence of the optimal entropic regularized transport plan towards an optimal transport plan as the entropy vanishes. Optimal transport distances are also useful to define gradient flows as a limit of implicit Euler steps according to the transportation distance. Our second contribution is a proof that implicit steps according to the entropic regularized distance converge towards the original gradient flow when both the step size and the entropic penalty vanish (in some controlled way).
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Contributor : Gabriel Peyré <>
Submitted on : Friday, December 18, 2015 - 8:59:29 AM
Last modification on : Friday, April 19, 2019 - 1:30:08 PM

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Guillaume Carlier, Vincent Duval, Gabriel Peyré, Bernhard Schmitzer. Convergence of Entropic Schemes for Optimal Transport and Gradient Flows. SIAM Journal on Mathematical Analysis, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, 2017, 49 (2), ⟨10.1137/15M1050264⟩. ⟨hal-01246086⟩



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