Moderator: Mojmir Mutny

Abstract:

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Tue 19 July 10:30 - 10:35 PDT

Spotlight

Xiaoyu Lu · Alexis Boukouvalas · James Hensman

Gaussian Process (GP) models are a class of flexible non-parametric models that have rich representational power. By using a Gaussian process with additive structure, complex responses can be modelled whilst retaining interpretability. Previous work showed that additive Gaussian process models require high-dimensional interaction terms. We propose the orthogonal additive kernel (OAK), which imposes an orthogonality constraint on the additive functions, enabling an identifiable, low-dimensional representation of the functional relationship. We connect the OAK kernel to functional ANOVA decomposition, and show improved convergence rates for sparse computation methods. With only a small number of additive low-dimensional terms, we demonstrate the OAK model achieves similar or better predictive performance compared to black-box models, while retaining interpretability.

Tue 19 July 10:35 - 10:40 PDT

Spotlight

Nicholas Krämer · Nathanael Bosch · Jonathan Schmidt · Philipp Hennig

Probabilistic solvers for ordinary differential equations (ODEs) have emerged as an efficient framework for uncertainty quantification and inference on dynamical systems. In this work, we explain the mathematical assumptions and detailed implementation schemes behind solving high-dimensional ODEs with a probabilistic numerical algorithm. This has not been possible before due to matrix-matrix operations in each solver step, but is crucial for scientifically relevant problems---most importantly, the solution of discretised partial differential equations. In a nutshell, efficient high-dimensional probabilistic ODE solutions build either on independence assumptions or on Kronecker structure in the prior model. We evaluate the resulting efficiency on a range of problems, including the probabilistic numerical simulation of a differential equation with millions of dimensions.

Tue 19 July 10:40 - 10:45 PDT

Spotlight

Edoardo Caldarelli · Philippe Wenk · Stefan Bauer · Andreas Krause

Detecting change points in time series, i.e., points in time at which some observed process suddenly changes, is a fundamental task that arises in many real-world applications, with consequences for safety and reliability. In this work, we propose ADAGA, a novel Gaussian process-based solution to this problem, that leverages a powerful heuristics we developed based on statistical hypothesis testing. In contrast to prior approaches, ADAGA adapts to changes both in mean and covariance structure of the temporal process. In extensive experiments, we show its versatility and applicability to different classes of change points, demonstrating that it is significantly more accurate than current state-of-the-art alternatives.

Tue 19 July 10:45 - 10:50 PDT

Spotlight

Gregory Benton · Wesley Maddox · Andrew Wilson

A broad class of stochastic volatility models are defined by systems of stochastic differential equations, and while these models have seen widespread success in domains such as finance and statistical climatology, they typically lack an ability to condition on historical data to produce a true posterior distribution. To address this fundamental limitation, we show how to re-cast a class of stochastic volatility models as a hierarchical Gaussian process (GP) model with specialized covariance functions. This GP model retains the inductive biases of the stochastic volatility model while providing the posterior predictive distribution given by GP inference. Within this framework, we take inspiration from well studied domains to introduce a new class of models, Volt and Magpie, that significantly outperform baselines in stock and wind speed forecasting, and naturally extend to the multitask setting.

Tue 19 July 10:50 - 10:55 PDT

Spotlight

Filip Tronarp · Nathanael Bosch · Philipp Hennig

We show how probabilistic numerics can be used to convert an initial value problem into a Gauss--Markov process parametrised by the dynamics of the initial value problem. Consequently, the often difficult problem of parameter estimation in ordinary differential equations is reduced to hyper-parameter estimation in Gauss--Markov regression, which tends to be considerably easier. The method's relation and benefits in comparison to classical numerical integration and gradient matching approaches is elucidated. In particular, the method can, in contrast to gradient matching, handle partial observations, and has certain routes for escaping local optima not available to classical numerical integration. Experimental results demonstrate that the method is on par or moderately better than competing approaches.

Tue 19 July 10:55 - 11:00 PDT

Spotlight

Luhuan Wu · Geoff Pleiss · John Cunningham

Variational approximations to Gaussian processes (GPs) typically use a small set of inducing points to form a low-rank approximation to the covariance matrix. In this work, we instead exploit a sparse approximation of the precision matrix. We propose variational nearest neighbor Gaussian process (VNNGP), which introduces a prior that only retains correlations within $K$ nearest-neighboring observations, thereby inducing sparse precision structure. Using the variational framework, VNNGP's objective can be factorized over both observations and inducing points, enabling stochastic optimization with a time complexity of $O(K^3)$. Hence, we can arbitrarily scale the inducing point size, even to the point of putting inducing points at every observed location. We compare VNNGP to other scalable GPs through various experiments, and demonstrate that VNNGP (1) can dramatically outperform low-rank methods, and (2) is less prone to overfitting than other nearest neighbor methods.

Tue 19 July 11:00 - 11:20 PDT

Oral

Jonathan Wenger · Geoff Pleiss · Philipp Hennig · John Cunningham · Jacob Gardner

Gaussian process hyperparameter optimization requires linear solves with, and log-determinants of, large kernel matrices. Iterative numerical techniques are becoming popular to scale to larger datasets, relying on the conjugate gradient method (CG) for the linear solves and stochastic trace estimation for the log-determinant. This work introduces new algorithmic and theoretical insights for preconditioning these computations. While preconditioning is well understood in the context of CG, we demonstrate that it can also accelerate convergence and reduce variance of the estimates for the log-determinant and its derivative. We prove general probabilistic error bounds for the preconditioned computation of the log-determinant, log-marginal likelihood and its derivatives. Additionally, we derive specific rates for a range of kernel-preconditioner combinations, showing that up to exponential convergence can be achieved. Our theoretical results enable provably efficient optimization of kernel hyperparameters, which we validate empirically on large-scale benchmark problems. There our approach accelerates training by up to an order of magnitude.

Tue 19 July 11:20 - 11:25 PDT

Spotlight

Jixiang Qing · Tom Dhaene · Ivo Couckuyt

We study the inference of mean-variance robustness measures to quantify input uncertainty under the Gaussian Process (GP) framework. These measures are widely used in applications where the robustness of the solution is of interest, for example, in engineering design. While the variance is commonly used to characterize the robustness, Bayesian inference of the variance using GPs is known to be challenging. In this paper, we propose a Spectral Representation of Robustness Measures based on the GP's spectral representation, i.e., an analytical approach to approximately infer both robustness measures for normal and uniform input uncertainty distributions. We present two approximations based on different Fourier features and compare their accuracy numerically. To demonstrate their utility and efficacy in robust Bayesian Optimization, we integrate the analytical robustness measures in three standard acquisition functions for various robust optimization formulations. We show their competitive performance on numerical benchmarks and real-life applications.

Tue 19 July 11:25 - 11:30 PDT

Spotlight

Arun Verma · Zhongxiang Dai · Bryan Kian Hsiang Low

Bayesian optimization (BO) is a widely-used sequential method for zeroth-order optimization of complex and expensive-to-compute black-box functions. The existing BO methods assume that the function evaluation (feedback) is available to the learner immediately or after a fixed delay. Such assumptions may not be practical in many real-life problems like online recommendations, clinical trials, and hyperparameter tuning where feedback is available after a random delay. To benefit from the experimental parallelization in these problems, the learner needs to start new function evaluations without waiting for delayed feedback. In this paper, we consider the BO under stochastic delayed feedback problem. We propose algorithms with sub-linear regret guarantees that efficiently address the dilemma of selecting new function queries while waiting for randomly delayed feedback. Building on our results, we also make novel contributions to batch BO and contextual Gaussian process bandits. Experiments on synthetic and real-life datasets verify the performance of our algorithms.

Tue 19 July 11:30 - 11:35 PDT

Spotlight

Yu Inatsu · Shion Takeno · Masayuki Karasuyama · Ichiro Takeuchi

In black-box function optimization, we need to consider not only controllable design variables but also uncontrollable stochastic environment variables. In such cases, it is necessary to solve the optimization problem by taking into account the uncertainty of the environmental variables. Chance-constrained (CC) problem, the problem of maximizing the expected value under a certain level of constraint satisfaction probability, is one of the practically important problems in the presence of environmental variables. In this study, we consider distributionally robust CC (DRCC) problem and propose a novel DRCC Bayesian optimization method for the case where the distribution of the environmental variables cannot be precisely specified. We show that the proposed method can find an arbitrary accurate solution with high probability in a finite number of trials, and confirm the usefulness of the proposed method through numerical experiments.

Tue 19 July 11:35 - 11:40 PDT

Spotlight

Sebastian Tay · Chuan Sheng Foo · Urano Daisuke · Richalynn Leong · Bryan Kian Hsiang Low

In distributionally robust Bayesian optimization (DRBO), an exact computation of the worst-case expected value requires solving an expensive convex optimization problem. We develop a fast approximation of the worst-case expected value based on the notion of worst-case sensitivity that caters to arbitrary convex distribution distances. We provide a regret bound for our novel DRBO algorithm with the fast approximation, and empirically show it is competitive with that using the exact worst-case expected value while incurring significantly less computation time. In order to guide the choice of distribution distance to be used with DRBO, we show that our approximation implicitly optimizes an objective close to an interpretable risk-sensitive value.

Tue 19 July 11:40 - 11:45 PDT

Spotlight

Sattar Vakili · Jonathan Scarlett · Da-shan Shiu · Alberto Bernacchia

Kernel-based models such as kernel ridge regression and Gaussian processes are ubiquitous in machine learning applications for regression and optimization. It is well known that a major downside for kernel-based models is the high computational cost; given a dataset of $n$ samples, the cost grows as $\mathcal{O}(n^3)$. Existing sparse approximation methods can yield a significant reduction in the computational cost, effectively reducing the actual cost down to as low as $\mathcal{O}(n)$ in certain cases. Despite this remarkable empirical success, significant gaps remain in the existing results for the analytical bounds on the error due to approximation. In this work, we provide novel confidence intervals for the Nystr\"om method and the sparse variational Gaussian process approximation method, which we establish using novel interpretations of the approximate (surrogate) posterior variance of the models. Our confidence intervals lead to improved performance bounds in both regression and optimization problems.

Tue 19 July 11:45 - 11:50 PDT

Spotlight

Sebastian Ament · Carla Gomes

Bayesian Optimization (BO) has shown great promise for the global optimization of functions that are expensive to evaluate, but despite many successes, standard approaches can struggle in high dimensions. To improve the performance of BO, prior work suggested incorporating gradient information into a Gaussian process surrogate of the objective, giving rise to kernel matrices of size $nd$ × $nd$ for $n$ observations in $d$ dimensions. Naïvely multiplying with (resp. inverting) these matrices requires $O(n^2d^2)$ (resp. $O(n^3d^3)$) operations, which becomes infeasible for moderate dimensions and sample sizes. Here, we observe that a wide range of kernels gives rise to structured matrices, enabling an exact $O(n^2d)$ matrix-vector multiply for gradient observations and $O(n^2d^2)$ for Hessian observations. Beyond canonical kernel classes, we derive a programmatic approach to leveraging this type of structure for transformations and combinations of the discussed kernel classes, which constitutes a structure-aware automatic differentiation algorithm. Our methods apply to virtually all canonical kernels and automatically extend to complex kernels, like the neural network, radial basis function network, and spectral mixture kernels without any additional derivations, enabling flexible, problem-dependent modeling while scaling first-order BO to high $d$.