Scalable Thompson Sampling using Sparse Gaussian Process Models

Dec 6, 2021



Thompson Sampling (TS) from Gaussian Process (GP) models is a powerful tool for the optimization of black-box functions. Although TS enjoys strong theoretical guarantees and convincing empirical performance, it incurs a large computational overhead that scales polynomially with the optimization budget. Recently, scalable TS methods based on sparse GP models have been proposed to increase the scope of TS, enabling its application to problems that are sufficiently multi-modal, noisy or combinatorial to require more than a few hundred evaluations to be solved. However, the approximation error introduced by sparse GPs invalidates all existing regret bounds. In this work, we perform a theoretical and empirical analysis of scalable TS. We provide theoretical guarantees and show that the drastic reduction in computational complexity of scalable TS can be enjoyed without loss in the regret performance over the standard TS. These conceptual claims are validated for practical implementations of scalable TS on synthetic benchmarks and as part of a real-world high-throughput molecular design task.


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Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS) is a multi-track machine learning and computational neuroscience conference that includes invited talks, demonstrations, symposia and oral and poster presentations of refereed papers. Following the conference, there are workshops which provide a less formal setting.

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