Oral
Stagewise Safe Bayesian Optimization with Gaussian Processes
Yanan Sui · Vincent Zhuang · Joel Burdick · Yisong Yue

Wed Jul 11th 01:30 -- 01:50 PM @ A3

Enforcing safety is a key aspect of many problems pertaining to sequential decision making under uncertainty, which require the decisions made at every step to be both informative of the optimal decision and also safe. For example, we value both efficacy and comfort in medical therapy, and efficiency and safety in robotic control. We consider this problem of optimizing an unknown utility function with absolute feedback or preference feedback subject to unknown safety constraints. We develop an efficient safe Bayesian optimization algorithm, StageOpt, that separates safe region expansion and utility function maximization into two distinct stages. Compared to existing approaches which interleave between expansion and optimization, we show that StageOpt is more efficient and naturally applicable to a broader class of problems. We provide theoretical guarantees for both the satisfaction of safety constraints as well as convergence to the optimal utility value. We evaluate StageOpt on both a variety of synthetic experiments, as well as in clinical practice. We demonstrate that StageOpt is more effective than existing safe optimization approaches, and is able to safely and effectively optimize spinal cord stimulation therapy in our clinical experiments.

Author Information

Yanan Sui (Stanford)
Vincent Zhuang (Caltech)
Joel Burdick (Caltech)
Yisong Yue (Caltech)

Yisong Yue is an assistant professor in the Computing and Mathematical Sciences Department at the California Institute of Technology. He was previously a research scientist at Disney Research. Before that, he was a postdoctoral researcher in the Machine Learning Department and the iLab at Carnegie Mellon University. He received a Ph.D. from Cornell University and a B.S. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Yisong's research interests lie primarily in the theory and application of statistical machine learning. He is particularly interested in developing novel methods for interactive machine learning and structured prediction. In the past, his research has been applied to information retrieval, recommender systems, text classification, learning from rich user interfaces, analyzing implicit human feedback, data-driven animation, behavior analysis, sports analytics, policy learning in robotics, and adaptive planning & allocation problems.

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