On correlation and budget constraints in model-based bandit optimization with application to automatic machine learning


Matthew Hoffman, Bobak Shahriari, Nando Freitas ;
Proceedings of the Seventeenth International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics, PMLR 33:365-374, 2014.


We address the problem of finding the maximizer of a nonlinear function that can only be evaluated, subject to noise, at a finite number of query locations. Further, we will assume that there is a constraint on the total number of permitted function evaluations. We introduce a Bayesian approach for this problem and show that it empirically outperforms both the existing frequentist counterpart and other Bayesian optimization methods. The Bayesian approach places emphasis on detailed modelling, including the modelling of correlations among the arms. As a result, it can perform well in situations where the number of arms is much larger than the number of allowed function evaluation, whereas the frequentist counterpart is inapplicable. This feature enables us to develop and deploy practical applications, such as automatic machine learning toolboxes. The paper presents comprehensive comparisons of the proposed approach with many Bayesian and bandit optimization techniques, the first comparison of many of these methods in the literature.

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