Parallelised Bayesian Optimisation via Thompson Sampling

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Kirthevasan Kandasamy, Akshay Krishnamurthy, Jeff Schneider, Barnabas Poczos ;
Proceedings of the Twenty-First International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics, PMLR 84:133-142, 2018.

Abstract

We design and analyse variations of the classical Thompson sampling (TS) procedure for Bayesian optimisation (BO) in settings where function evaluations are expensive but can be performed in parallel. Our theoretical analysis shows that a direct application of the sequential Thompson sampling algorithm in either synchronous or asynchronous parallel settings yields a surprisingly powerful result: making $n$ evaluations distributed among $M$ workers is essentially equivalent to performing $n$ evaluations in sequence. Further, by modelling the time taken to complete a function evaluation, we show that, under a time constraint, asynchronous parallel TS achieves asymptotically lower regret than both the synchronous and sequential versions. These results are complemented by an experimental analysis, showing that asynchronous TS outperforms a suite of existing parallel BO algorithms in simulations and in an application involving tuning hyper-parameters of a convolutional neural network. In addition to these, the proposed procedure is conceptually much simpler than existing work for parallel BO.

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