Distributionally Robust Bayesian Optimization

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Johannes Kirschner, Ilija Bogunovic, Stefanie Jegelka, Andreas Krause ;
Proceedings of the Twenty Third International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics, PMLR 108:2174-2184, 2020.

Abstract

Robustness to distributional shift is one of the key challenges of contemporary machine learning. Attaining such robustness is the goal of distributionally robust optimization, which seeks a solution to an optimization problem that is worst-case robust under a specified distributional shift of an uncontrolled covariate. In this paper, we study such a problem when the distributional shift is measured via the maximum mean discrepancy (MMD). For the setting of zeroth-order, noisy optimization, we present a novel distributionally robust Bayesian optimization algorithm (DRBO). Our algorithm provably obtains sub-linear robust regret in various settings that differ in how the uncertain covariate is observed. We demonstrate the robust performance of our method on both synthetic and real-world benchmarks.

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