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A Comprehensive Survey of Neural Architecture Search: Challenges and Solutions

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Deep learning has made major breakthroughs and progress in many fields. This is due to the powerful automatic representation capabilities of deep learning. It has been proved that the design of the network architecture is crucial to the feature representation of data and the final performance. In order to obtain a good feature representation of data, the researchers designed various complex network architectures. However, the design of the network architecture relies heavily on the researchers' prior knowledge and experience. Therefore, a natural idea is to reduce human intervention as much as possible and let the algorithm automatically design the architecture of the network. Thus going further to the strong intelligence. In recent years, a large number of related algorithms for \textit{Neural Architecture Search} (NAS) have emerged. They have made various improvements to the NAS algorithm, and the related research work is complicated and rich. In order to reduce the difficulty for beginners to conduct NAS-related research, a comprehensive and systematic survey on the NAS is essential. Previously related surveys began to classify existing work mainly from the basic components of NAS: search space, search strategy and evaluation strategy. This classification method is more intuitive, but it is difficult for readers to grasp the challenges and the landmark work in the middle. Therefore, in this survey, we provide a new perspective: starting with an overview of the characteristics of the earliest NAS algorithms, summarizing the problems in these early NAS algorithms, and then giving solutions for subsequent related research work. In addition, we conducted a detailed and comprehensive analysis, comparison and summary of these works. Finally, we give possible future research directions.


HM-NAS: Efficient Neural Architecture Search via Hierarchical Masking

arXiv.org Machine Learning

The use of automatic methods, often referred to as Neural Architecture Search (NAS), in designing neural network architectures has recently drawn considerable attention. In this work, we present an efficient NAS approach, named HM- NAS, that generalizes existing weight sharing based NAS approaches. Existing weight sharing based NAS approaches still adopt hand-designed heuristics to generate architecture candidates. As a consequence, the space of architecture candidates is constrained in a subset of all possible architectures, making the architecture search results sub-optimal. HM-NAS addresses this limitation via two innovations. First, HM-NAS incorporates a multi-level architecture encoding scheme to enable searching for more flexible network architectures. Second, it discards the hand-designed heuristics and incorporates a hierarchical masking scheme that automatically learns and determines the optimal architecture. Compared to state-of-the-art weight sharing based approaches, HM-NAS is able to achieve better architecture search performance and competitive model evaluation accuracy. Without the constraint imposed by the hand-designed heuristics, our searched networks contain more flexible and meaningful architectures that existing weight sharing based NAS approaches are not able to discover.


Deep Neural Architecture Search with Deep Graph Bayesian Optimization

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Bayesian optimization (BO) is an effective method of finding the global optima of black-box functions. Recently BO has been applied to neural architecture search and shows better performance than pure evolutionary strategies. All these methods adopt Gaussian processes (GPs) as surrogate function, with the handcraft similarity metrics as input. In this work, we propose a Bayesian graph neural network as a new surrogate, which can automatically extract features from deep neural architectures, and use such learned features to fit and characterize black-box objectives and their uncertainty. Based on the new surrogate, we then develop a graph Bayesian optimization framework to address the challenging task of deep neural architecture search. Experiment results show our method significantly outperforms the comparative methods on benchmark tasks.


Understanding Neural Architecture Search Techniques

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Automatic methods for generating state-of-the-art neural network architectures without human experts have generated significant attention recently. This is because of the potential to remove human experts from the design loop which can reduce costs and decrease time to model deployment. Neural architecture search (NAS) techniques have improved significantly in their computational efficiency since the original NAS was proposed. This reduction in computation is enabled via weight sharing such as in Efficient Neural Architecture Search (ENAS). However, recently a body of work confirms our discovery that ENAS does not do significantly better than random search with weight sharing, contradicting the initial claims of the authors. We provide an explanation for this phenomenon by investigating the interpretability of the ENAS controller's hidden state. We are interested in seeing if the controller embeddings are predictive of any properties of the final architecture - for example, graph properties like the number of connections, or validation performance. We find models sampled from identical controller hidden states have no correlation in various graph similarity metrics. This failure mode implies the RNN controller does not condition on past architecture choices. Importantly, we may need to condition on past choices if certain connection patterns prevent vanishing or exploding gradients. Lastly, we propose a solution to this failure mode by forcing the controller's hidden state to encode pasts decisions by training it with a memory buffer of previously sampled architectures. Doing this improves hidden state interpretability by increasing the correlation controller hidden states and graph similarity metrics.


Neural Architecture Search in Embedding Space

arXiv.org Machine Learning

The neural architecture search (NAS) algorithm with reinforcement learning can be a powerful and novel framework for the automatic discovering process of neural architectures. However, its application is restricted by noncontinuous and high-dimensional search spaces, which result in difficulty in optimization. To resolve these problems, we proposed NAS in embedding space (NASES), which is a novel framework. Unlike other NAS with reinforcement learning approaches that search over a discrete and high-dimensional architecture space, this approach enables reinforcement learning to search in an embedding space by using architecture encoders and decoders. The current experiment demonstrated that the performance of the final architecture network using the NASES procedure is comparable with that of other popular NAS approaches for the image classification task on CIFAR-10. The beneficial-performance and effectiveness of NASES was impressive even when only the architecture-embedding searching and pre-training controller were applied without other NAS tricks such as parameter sharing. Specifically, considerable reduction in searches was achieved by reducing the average number of searching to 100 architectures to achieve a final architecture for the NASES procedure. Introduction Deep neural networks have enabled advances in image recognition, sequential pattern recognition, recommendation systems, and various tasks in the past decades.