Modulating Surrogates for Bayesian Optimization

Jul 12, 2020

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Bayesian optimization (BO) methods often rely on the assumption that the objective function is well-behaved, but in practice, this is seldom true for real-world objectives even if noise-free observations can be collected. Common approaches, which try to model the objective as precisely as possible, often fail to make progress by spending too many evaluations modeling irrelevant details. We address this issue by proposing surrogate models that focus on the well-behaved structure in the objective function, which is informative for search, while ignoring detrimental structure that is challenging to model from few observations. First, we demonstrate that surrogate models with appropriate noise distributions can absorb challenging structures in the objective function by treating them as irreducible uncertainty. Secondly, we show that a latent Gaussian process is an excellent surrogate for this purpose, comparing with Gaussian processes with standard noise distributions. We perform numerous experiments on a range of BO benchmarks and find that our approach improves reliability and performance when faced with challenging objective functions.

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About ICML 2020

The International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) is the premier gathering of professionals dedicated to the advancement of the branch of artificial intelligence known as machine learning. ICML is globally renowned for presenting and publishing cutting-edge research on all aspects of machine learning used in closely related areas like artificial intelligence, statistics and data science, as well as important application areas such as machine vision, computational biology, speech recognition, and robotics. ICML is one of the fastest growing artificial intelligence conferences in the world. Participants at ICML span a wide range of backgrounds, from academic and industrial researchers, to entrepreneurs and engineers, to graduate students and postdocs.

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