Refined bounds for algorithm configuration: The knife-edge of dual class approximability

by · Jul 12, 2020 · 33 views ·

ICML 2020

Automating algorithm configuration is growing increasingly necessary as algorithms come with more and more tunable parameters. It is common to tune the parameters using machine learning, optimizing performance metrics such as runtime and solution quality. The training set consists of problem instances from the specific domain at hand. We help answer a fundamental question about these techniques: how large should the training set be to ensure that a parameter’s average empirical performance over the training set is close to its expected, future performance? Prior research provides this type of sample complexity bound when the algorithm's performance as a function of its parameters is "simple." We often find, however, that these functions are not simple, but can be approximated by simple functions. We show that if this approximation holds under the L∞-norm, we can provide strong sample complexity bounds. On the flip side, if the approximation holds only under the Lp-norm for p < ∞, it is not possible to provide meaningful sample complexity bounds in the worst case. We empirically evaluate our bounds in the context of algorithm configuration for integer programming, one of the most powerful tools in computer science. In this way, we merge tools from discrete optimization and machine learning. Via experiments, we obtain sample complexity bounds that are up to 700 times smaller than the previously best-known bounds (Balcan et al., ICML 2018).