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Global Optimization with Parametric Function Approximation

Chong Liu · Yu-Xiang Wang

Exhibit Hall 1 #412
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Abstract: We consider the problem of global optimization with noisy zeroth order oracles — a well-motivated problem useful for various applications ranging from hyper-parameter tuning for deep learning to new material design. Existing work relies on Gaussian processes or other non-parametric family, which suffers from the curse of dimensionality. In this paper, we propose a new algorithm GO-UCB that leverages a parametric family of functions (e.g., neural networks) instead. Under a realizable assumption and a few other mild geometric conditions, we show that GO-UCB achieves a cumulative regret of $\tilde{O}(\sqrt{T})$ where $T$ is the time horizon. At the core of GO-UCB is a carefully designed uncertainty set over parameters based on gradients that allows optimistic exploration. Synthetic and real-world experiments illustrate GO-UCB works better than popular Bayesian optimization approaches, even if the model is misspecified.

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