10,16,2021

News Blog Paper China
Principal Component Analysis Applied to Gradient Fields in Band Gap Optimization Problems for Metamaterials2021-04-04   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
A promising technique for the spectral design of acoustic metamaterials is based on the formulation of suitable constrained nonlinear optimization problems. Unfortunately, the straightforward application of classical gradient-based iterative optimization algorithms to the numerical solution of such problems is typically highly demanding, due to the complexity of the underlying physical models. Nevertheless, supervised machine learning techniques can reduce such a computational effort, e.g., by replacing the original objective functions of such optimization problems with more-easily computable approximations. In this framework, the present article describes the application of a related unsupervised machine learning technique, namely, principal component analysis, to approximate the gradient of the objective function of a band gap optimization problem for an acoustic metamaterial, with the aim of making the successive application of a gradient-based iterative optimization algorithm faster. Numerical results show the effectiveness of the proposed method.
 
A Survey of Optimization Methods from a Machine Learning Perspective2019-10-23   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Machine learning develops rapidly, which has made many theoretical breakthroughs and is widely applied in various fields. Optimization, as an important part of machine learning, has attracted much attention of researchers. With the exponential growth of data amount and the increase of model complexity, optimization methods in machine learning face more and more challenges. A lot of work on solving optimization problems or improving optimization methods in machine learning has been proposed successively. The systematic retrospect and summary of the optimization methods from the perspective of machine learning are of great significance, which can offer guidance for both developments of optimization and machine learning research. In this paper, we first describe the optimization problems in machine learning. Then, we introduce the principles and progresses of commonly used optimization methods. Next, we summarize the applications and developments of optimization methods in some popular machine learning fields. Finally, we explore and give some challenges and open problems for the optimization in machine learning.
 
Learning to Optimize Under Constraints with Unsupervised Deep Neural Networks2021-01-03   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
In this paper, we propose a machine learning (ML) method to learn how to solve a generic constrained continuous optimization problem. To the best of our knowledge, the generic methods that learn to optimize, focus on unconstrained optimization problems and those dealing with constrained problems are not easy-to-generalize. This approach is quite useful in optimization tasks where the problem's parameters constantly change and require resolving the optimization task per parameter update. In such problems, the computational complexity of optimization algorithms such as gradient descent or interior point method preclude near-optimal designs in real-time applications. In this paper, we propose an unsupervised deep learning (DL) solution for solving constrained optimization problems in real-time by relegating the main computation load to offline training phase. This paper's main contribution is proposing a method for enforcing the equality and inequality constraints to the DL-generated solutions for generic optimization tasks.
 
Machine-learning techniques for the optimal design of acoustic metamaterials2019-08-28   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Recently, an increasing research effort has been dedicated to analyse the transmission and dispersion properties of periodic acoustic metamaterials, characterized by the presence of local resonators. Within this context, particular attention has been paid to the optimization of the amplitudes and center frequencies of selected stop and pass bands inside the Floquet-Bloch spectra of the acoustic metamaterials featured by a chiral or antichiral microstructure. Novel functional applications of such research are expected in the optimal parametric design of smart tunable mechanical filters and directional waveguides. The present paper deals with the maximization of the amplitude of low-frequency band gaps, by proposing suitable numerical techniques to solve the associated optimization problems. Specifically, the feasibility and effectiveness of Radial Basis Function networks and Quasi-Monte Carlo methods for the interpolation of the objective functions of such optimization problems are discussed, and their numerical application to a specific acoustic metamaterial with tetrachiral microstructure is presented. The discussion is motivated theoretically by the high computational effort often needed for an exact evaluation of the objective functions arising in band gap optimization problems, when iterative algorithms are used for their approximate solution. By replacing such functions with suitable surrogate objective functions constructed applying machine-learning techniques, well performing suboptimal solutions can be obtained with a smaller computational effort. Numerical results demonstrate the effective potential of the proposed approach. Current directions of research involving the use of additional machine-learning techniques are also presented.
 
On Hyperparameter Optimization of Machine Learning Algorithms: Theory and Practice2020-07-30   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Machine learning algorithms have been used widely in various applications and areas. To fit a machine learning model into different problems, its hyper-parameters must be tuned. Selecting the best hyper-parameter configuration for machine learning models has a direct impact on the model's performance. It often requires deep knowledge of machine learning algorithms and appropriate hyper-parameter optimization techniques. Although several automatic optimization techniques exist, they have different strengths and drawbacks when applied to different types of problems. In this paper, optimizing the hyper-parameters of common machine learning models is studied. We introduce several state-of-the-art optimization techniques and discuss how to apply them to machine learning algorithms. Many available libraries and frameworks developed for hyper-parameter optimization problems are provided, and some open challenges of hyper-parameter optimization research are also discussed in this paper. Moreover, experiments are conducted on benchmark datasets to compare the performance of different optimization methods and provide practical examples of hyper-parameter optimization. This survey paper will help industrial users, data analysts, and researchers to better develop machine learning models by identifying the proper hyper-parameter configurations effectively.
 
Scalarizing Functions in Bayesian Multiobjective Optimization2019-04-11   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Scalarizing functions have been widely used to convert a multiobjective optimization problem into a single objective optimization problem. However, their use in solving (computationally) expensive multi- and many-objective optimization problems in Bayesian multiobjective optimization is scarce. Scalarizing functions can play a crucial role on the quality and number of evaluations required when doing the optimization. In this article, we study and review 15 different scalarizing functions in the framework of Bayesian multiobjective optimization and build Gaussian process models (as surrogates, metamodels or emulators) on them. We use expected improvement as infill criterion (or acquisition function) to update the models. In particular, we compare different scalarizing functions and analyze their performance on several benchmark problems with different number of objectives to be optimized. The review and experiments on different functions provide useful insights when using and selecting a scalarizing function when using a Bayesian multiobjective optimization method.
 
Structured Convex Optimization under Submodular Constraints2013-09-26   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
A number of discrete and continuous optimization problems in machine learning are related to convex minimization problems under submodular constraints. In this paper, we deal with a submodular function with a directed graph structure, and we show that a wide range of convex optimization problems under submodular constraints can be solved much more efficiently than general submodular optimization methods by a reduction to a maximum flow problem. Furthermore, we give some applications, including sparse optimization methods, in which the proposed methods are effective. Additionally, we evaluate the performance of the proposed method through computational experiments.
 
Funneled Bayesian Optimization for Design, Tuning and Control of Autonomous Systems2019-02-05   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Bayesian optimization has become a fundamental global optimization algorithm in many problems where sample efficiency is of paramount importance. Recently, there has been proposed a large number of new applications in fields such as robotics, machine learning, experimental design, simulation, etc. In this paper, we focus on several problems that appear in robotics and autonomous systems: algorithm tuning, automatic control and intelligent design. All those problems can be mapped to global optimization problems. However, they become hard optimization problems. Bayesian optimization internally uses a probabilistic surrogate model (e.g.: Gaussian process) to learn from the process and reduce the number of samples required. In order to generalize to unknown functions in a black-box fashion, the common assumption is that the underlying function can be modeled with a stationary process. Nonstationary Gaussian process regression cannot generalize easily and it typically requires prior knowledge of the function. Some works have designed techniques to generalize Bayesian optimization to nonstationary functions in an indirect way, but using techniques originally designed for regression, where the objective is to improve the quality of the surrogate model everywhere. Instead optimization should focus on improving the surrogate model near the optimum. In this paper, we present a novel kernel function specially designed for Bayesian optimization, that allows nonstationary behavior of the surrogate model in an adaptive local region. In our experiments, we found that this new kernel results in an improved local search (exploitation), without penalizing the global search (exploration). We provide results in well-known benchmarks and real applications. The new method outperforms the state of the art in Bayesian optimization both in stationary and nonstationary problems.
 
Universal Convexification via Risk-Aversion2014-06-02   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
We develop a framework for convexifying a fairly general class of optimization problems. Under additional assumptions, we analyze the suboptimality of the solution to the convexified problem relative to the original nonconvex problem and prove additive approximation guarantees. We then develop algorithms based on stochastic gradient methods to solve the resulting optimization problems and show bounds on convergence rates. %We show a simple application of this framework to supervised learning, where one can perform integration explicitly and can use standard (non-stochastic) optimization algorithms with better convergence guarantees. We then extend this framework to apply to a general class of discrete-time dynamical systems. In this context, our convexification approach falls under the well-studied paradigm of risk-sensitive Markov Decision Processes. We derive the first known model-based and model-free policy gradient optimization algorithms with guaranteed convergence to the optimal solution. Finally, we present numerical results validating our formulation in different applications.
 
Melding the Data-Decisions Pipeline: Decision-Focused Learning for Combinatorial Optimization2018-11-20   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Creating impact in real-world settings requires artificial intelligence techniques to span the full pipeline from data, to predictive models, to decisions. These components are typically approached separately: a machine learning model is first trained via a measure of predictive accuracy, and then its predictions are used as input into an optimization algorithm which produces a decision. However, the loss function used to train the model may easily be misaligned with the end goal, which is to make the best decisions possible. Hand-tuning the loss function to align with optimization is a difficult and error-prone process (which is often skipped entirely). We focus on combinatorial optimization problems and introduce a general framework for decision-focused learning, where the machine learning model is directly trained in conjunction with the optimization algorithm to produce high-quality decisions. Technically, our contribution is a means of integrating common classes of discrete optimization problems into deep learning or other predictive models, which are typically trained via gradient descent. The main idea is to use a continuous relaxation of the discrete problem to propagate gradients through the optimization procedure. We instantiate this framework for two broad classes of combinatorial problems: linear programs and submodular maximization. Experimental results across a variety of domains show that decision-focused learning often leads to improved optimization performance compared to traditional methods. We find that standard measures of accuracy are not a reliable proxy for a predictive model's utility in optimization, and our method's ability to specify the true goal as the model's training objective yields substantial dividends across a range of decision problems.
 
Learning with Submodular Functions: A Convex Optimization Perspective2013-10-08   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Submodular functions are relevant to machine learning for at least two reasons: (1) some problems may be expressed directly as the optimization of submodular functions and (2) the lovasz extension of submodular functions provides a useful set of regularization functions for supervised and unsupervised learning. In this monograph, we present the theory of submodular functions from a convex analysis perspective, presenting tight links between certain polyhedra, combinatorial optimization and convex optimization problems. In particular, we show how submodular function minimization is equivalent to solving a wide variety of convex optimization problems. This allows the derivation of new efficient algorithms for approximate and exact submodular function minimization with theoretical guarantees and good practical performance. By listing many examples of submodular functions, we review various applications to machine learning, such as clustering, experimental design, sensor placement, graphical model structure learning or subset selection, as well as a family of structured sparsity-inducing norms that can be derived and used from submodular functions.
 
Towards Automatic Bayesian Optimization: A first step involving acquisition functions2020-03-21   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Bayesian Optimization is the state of the art technique for the optimization of black boxes, i.e., functions where we do not have access to their analytical expression nor its gradients, they are expensive to evaluate and its evaluation is noisy. The most popular application of bayesian optimization is the automatic hyperparameter tuning of machine learning algorithms, where we obtain the best configuration of machine learning algorithms by optimizing the estimation of the generalization error of these algorithms. Despite being applied with success, bayesian optimization methodologies also have hyperparameters that need to be configured such as the probabilistic surrogate model or the acquisition function used. A bad decision over the configuration of these hyperparameters implies obtaining bad quality results. Typically, these hyperparameters are tuned by making assumptions of the objective function that we want to evaluate but there are scenarios where we do not have any prior information about the objective function. In this paper, we propose a first attempt over automatic bayesian optimization by exploring several heuristics that automatically tune the acquisition function of bayesian optimization. We illustrate the effectiveness of these heurisitcs in a set of benchmark problems and a hyperparameter tuning problem of a machine learning algorithm.
 
Differentially Private Convex Optimization with Feasibility Guarantees2020-06-22   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
This paper develops a novel differentially private framework to solve convex optimization problems with sensitive optimization data and complex physical or operational constraints. Unlike standard noise-additive algorithms, that act primarily on the problem data, objective or solution, and disregard the problem constraints, this framework requires the optimization variables to be a function of the noise and exploits a chance-constrained problem reformulation with formal feasibility guarantees. The noise is calibrated to provide differential privacy for identity and linear queries on the optimization solution. For many applications, including resource allocation problems, the proposed framework provides a trade-off between the expected optimality loss and the variance of optimization results.
 
Optimizing Wireless Systems Using Unsupervised and Reinforced-Unsupervised Deep Learning2020-01-03   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Resource allocation and transceivers in wireless networks are usually designed by solving optimization problems subject to specific constraints, which can be formulated as variable or functional optimization. If the objective and constraint functions of a variable optimization problem can be derived, standard numerical algorithms can be applied for finding the optimal solution, which however incur high computational cost when the dimension of the variable is high. To reduce the on-line computational complexity, learning the optimal solution as a function of the environment's status by deep neural networks (DNNs) is an effective approach. DNNs can be trained under the supervision of optimal solutions, which however, is not applicable to the scenarios without models or for functional optimization where the optimal solutions are hard to obtain. If the objective and constraint functions are unavailable, reinforcement learning can be applied to find the solution of a functional optimization problem, which is however not tailored to optimization problems in wireless networks. In this article, we introduce unsupervised and reinforced-unsupervised learning frameworks for solving both variable and functional optimization problems without the supervision of the optimal solutions. When the mathematical model of the environment is completely known and the distribution of environment's status is known or unknown, we can invoke unsupervised learning algorithm. When the mathematical model of the environment is incomplete, we introduce reinforced-unsupervised learning algorithms that learn the model by interacting with the environment. Our simulation results confirm the applicability of these learning frameworks by taking a user association problem as an example.
 
Convergence Properties of Stochastic Hypergradients2020-11-13   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Bilevel optimization problems are receiving increasing attention in machine learning as they provide a natural framework for hyperparameter optimization and meta-learning. A key step to tackle these problems in the design of optimization algorithms for bilevel optimization is the efficient computation of the gradient of the upper-level objective (hypergradient). In this work, we study stochastic approximation schemes for the hypergradient, which are important when the lower-level problem is empirical risk minimization on a large dataset. We provide iteration complexity bounds for the mean square error of the hypergradient approximation, under the assumption that the lower-level problem is accessible only through a stochastic mapping which is a contraction in expectation. Preliminary numerical experiments support our theoretical analysis.
 
Warm Starting Bayesian Optimization2016-08-11   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
We develop a framework for warm-starting Bayesian optimization, that reduces the solution time required to solve an optimization problem that is one in a sequence of related problems. This is useful when optimizing the output of a stochastic simulator that fails to provide derivative information, for which Bayesian optimization methods are well-suited. Solving sequences of related optimization problems arises when making several business decisions using one optimization model and input data collected over different time periods or markets. While many gradient-based methods can be warm started by initiating optimization at the solution to the previous problem, this warm start approach does not apply to Bayesian optimization methods, which carry a full metamodel of the objective function from iteration to iteration. Our approach builds a joint statistical model of the entire collection of related objective functions, and uses a value of information calculation to recommend points to evaluate.
 
Black Box Algorithm Selection by Convolutional Neural Network2019-12-22   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Although a large number of optimization algorithms have been proposed for black box optimization problems, the no free lunch theorems inform us that no algorithm can beat others on all types of problems. Different types of optimization problems need different optimization algorithms. To deal with this issue, researchers propose algorithm selection to suggest the best optimization algorithm from the algorithm set for a given unknown optimization problem. Usually, algorithm selection is treated as a classification or regression task. Deep learning, which has been shown to perform well on various classification and regression tasks, is applied to the algorithm selection problem in this paper. Our deep learning architecture is based on convolutional neural network and follows the main architecture of visual geometry group. This architecture has been applied to many different types of 2-D data. Moreover, we also propose a novel method to extract landscape information from the optimization problems and save the information as 2-D images. In the experimental section, we conduct three experiments to investigate the classification and optimization capability of our approach on the BBOB functions. The results indicate that our new approach can effectively solve the algorithm selection problem.
 
Learning to Optimize Neural Nets2017-11-30   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Learning to Optimize is a recently proposed framework for learning optimization algorithms using reinforcement learning. In this paper, we explore learning an optimization algorithm for training shallow neural nets. Such high-dimensional stochastic optimization problems present interesting challenges for existing reinforcement learning algorithms. We develop an extension that is suited to learning optimization algorithms in this setting and demonstrate that the learned optimization algorithm consistently outperforms other known optimization algorithms even on unseen tasks and is robust to changes in stochasticity of gradients and the neural net architecture. More specifically, we show that an optimization algorithm trained with the proposed method on the problem of training a neural net on MNIST generalizes to the problems of training neural nets on the Toronto Faces Dataset, CIFAR-10 and CIFAR-100.
 
A Smoothing Stochastic Gradient Method for Composite Optimization2011-06-30   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
We consider the unconstrained optimization problem whose objective function is composed of a smooth and a non-smooth conponents where the smooth component is the expectation a random function. This type of problem arises in some interesting applications in machine learning. We propose a stochastic gradient descent algorithm for this class of optimization problem. When the non-smooth component has a particular structure, we propose another stochastic gradient descent algorithm by incorporating a smoothing method into our first algorithm. The proofs of the convergence rates of these two algorithms are given and we show the numerical performance of our algorithm by applying them to regularized linear regression problems with different sets of synthetic data.
 
Upper Trust Bound Feasibility Criterion for Mixed Constrained Bayesian Optimization with Application to Aircraft Design2020-05-12   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Bayesian optimization methods have been successfully applied to black box optimization problems that are expensive to evaluate. In this paper, we adapt the so-called super effcient global optimization algorithm to solve more accurately mixed constrained problems. The proposed approach handles constraints by means of upper trust bound, the latter encourages exploration of the feasible domain by combining the mean prediction and the associated uncertainty function given by the Gaussian processes. On top of that, a refinement procedure, based on a learning rate criterion, is introduced to enhance the exploitation and exploration trade-off. We show the good potential of the approach on a set of numerical experiments. Finally, we present an application to conceptual aircraft configuration upon which we show the superiority of the proposed approach compared to a set of the state-of-the-art black box optimization solvers. Keywords: Global Optimization, Mixed Constrained Optimization, Black box optimization, Bayesian Optimization, Gaussian Process.