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Dual descent methods are commonly used to solve network optimization problems because their implementation can be distributed through the network. However, their convergence rates are typically very slow. This paper introduces a family of dual descent algorithms that use approximate Newton directions to accelerate the convergence rate of conventional dual descent. These approximate directions can be computed using local information exchanges thereby retaining the benefits of distributed implementations. The approximate Newton directions are obtained through matrix splitting techniques and sparse Taylor approximations of the inverse Hessian.
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