BINOCULARS for Efficient, Nonmyopic Sequential Experimental Design

Jul 12, 2020

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Finite-horizon sequential experimental design (SED) arises naturally in many contexts, including hyperparameter tuning in machine learning among more traditional settings. Computing the optimal policy for such problems requires solving Bellman equations, which are generally intractable. Most existing work resorts to severely myopic approximations by limiting the decision horizon to only a single time-step, which can underweight exploration in favor of exploitation. We present BINOCULARS: Batch-Informed NOnmyopic Choices, Using Long-horizons for Adaptive, Rapid SED, a general framework for deriving efficient, nonmyopic approximations to the optimal experimental policy. Our key idea is simple and surprisingly effective: we first compute a one-step optimal batch of experiments, then select a single point from this batch to evaluate. We realize BINOCULARS for Bayesian optimization and Bayesian quadrature – two notable example problems with radically different objectives – and demonstrate that BINOCULARS significantly outperforms significantly outperforms myopic alternatives in real-world scenarios.

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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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