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Bayesian Optimization: Scalability and Flexibility
Bobak Shahriari · Ryan Adams · Nando de Freitas · Amar Shah · Roberto Calandra

Sat Dec 12 05:30 AM -- 03:30 PM (PST) @ 511 b
Event URL: http://bayesopt.com »

Bayesian optimization has emerged as an exciting subfield of machine learning that is concerned with the global optimization of noisy, black-box functions using probabilistic methods. Systems implementing Bayesian optimization techniques have been successfully used to solve difficult problems in a diverse set of applications. There have been many recent advances in the methodologies and theory underpinning Bayesian optimization that have extended the framework to new applications as well as provided greater insights into the behaviour of these algorithms. Bayesian optimization is now increasingly being used in industrial settings, providing new and interesting challenges that require new algorithms and theoretical insights.

At last year’s NIPS workshop on Bayesian optimization the focus was on the intersection of “academia and industry”. Following up on this theme, the workshop this year will focus on scaling existing approaches to larger evaluation budgets, higher-dimensional search spaces, and more complex input spaces. While the computational complexity of common probabilistic regression models used in Bayesian optimization have confined it to relatively low-dimensional problems and small evaluation budgets, there have, in recent years, been several advances in scaling these probabilistic models to more demanding application domains. Furthermore, many applications of Bayesian optimization only make sense when considering concurrent evaluations, which departs from the traditional, strictly sequential Bayesian optimization framework. Recent theoretical and practical efforts have addressed the mini-batch, or parallel, evaluation framework.

The goal of this workshop is to bring together advances in scalable and flexible probabilistic modelling, and batch exploration strategies to establish the state of the art in Bayesian optimization capabilities. Specifically, we will invite participants of the workshop to share their experiences and findings in applying Bayesian optimization at new scales and in new application domains. In addition, we wish to attract researchers from the broader scientific community in order to demonstrate the flexibility of Bayesian optimization and invite them to consider including it in their own experimental methodology. The key questions we will discuss are: how to successfully scale Bayesian optimization to large evaluation budgets? How to tackle high-dimensional or complex search spaces? How to apply Bayesian optimization in massive, distributed settings?

The target audience for this workshop consists of both industrial and academic practitioners of Bayesian optimization as well as researchers working on theoretical advances in probabilistic global optimization. To this end we have invited many industrial users of Bayesian optimization to attend and speak at the workshop. We expect this exchange of industrial and academic knowledge will lead to a significant interchange of ideas and a clearer understanding of the challenges and successes of Bayesian optimization as a whole.

A further goal is to encourage collaboration between the diverse set of researchers involved in Bayesian optimization. This includes not only interchange between industrial and academic researchers, but also between the many different sub-fields of machine learning which make use of Bayesian optimization or its components. We are also reaching out to the wider global optimization and Bayesian inference communities for involvement.

Author Information

Bobak Shahriari (University of British Columbia)
Ryan Adams (Harvard)
Nando de Freitas (Google DeepMind)
Amar Shah (Cambridge)
Roberto Calandra (TU Darmstadt)

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