Wang, Zi, Li, Chengtao, Jegelka, Stefanie, Kohli, Pushmeet

Optimization of high-dimensional black-box functions is an extremely challenging problem. While Bayesian optimization has emerged as a popular approach for optimizing black-box functions, its applicability has been limited to low-dimensional problems due to its computational and statistical challenges arising from high-dimensional settings. In this paper, we propose to tackle these challenges by (1) assuming a latent additive structure in the function and inferring it properly for more efficient and effective BO, and (2) performing multiple evaluations in parallel to reduce the number of iterations required by the method. Our novel approach learns the latent structure with Gibbs sampling and constructs batched queries using determinantal point processes. Experimental validations on both synthetic and real-world functions demonstrate that the proposed method outperforms the existing state-of-the-art approaches.

Azzimonti, Dario, Bect, Julien, Chevalier, Clément, Ginsbourger, David

We focus on the problem of estimating and quantifying uncertainties on the excursion set of a function under a limited evaluation budget. We adopt a Bayesian approach where the objective function is assumed to be a realization of a Gaussian random field. In this setting, the posterior distribution on the objective function gives rise to a posterior distribution on excursion sets. Several approaches exist to summarize the distribution of such sets based on random closed set theory. While the recently proposed Vorob'ev approach exploits analytical formulae, further notions of variability require Monte Carlo estimators relying on Gaussian random field conditional simulations. In the present work we propose a method to choose Monte Carlo simulation points and obtain quasi-realizations of the conditional field at fine designs through affine predictors. The points are chosen optimally in the sense that they minimize the posterior expected distance in measure between the excursion set and its reconstruction. The proposed method reduces the computational costs due to Monte Carlo simulations and enables the computation of quasi-realizations on fine designs in large dimensions. We apply this reconstruction approach to obtain realizations of an excursion set on a fine grid which allow us to give a new measure of uncertainty based on the distance transform of the excursion set. Finally we present a safety engineering test case where the simulation method is employed to compute a Monte Carlo estimate of a contour line.

We consider Bayesian analysis of a class of multiple changepoint models. While there are a variety of efficient ways to analyse these models if the parameters associated with each segment are independent, there are few general approaches for models where the parameters are dependent. Under the assumption that the dependence is Markov, we propose an efficient online algorithm for sampling from an approximation to the posterior distribution of the number and position of the changepoints. In a simulation study, we show that the approximation introduced is negligible. We illustrate the power of our approach through fitting piecewise polynomial models to data, under a model which allows for either continuity or discontinuity of the underlying curve at each changepoint. This method is competitive with, or out-performs, other methods for inferring curves from noisy data; and uniquely it allows for inference of the locations of discontinuities in the underlying curve.

Cai, Chenghui, Liao, Xuejun, Carin, Lawrence

A fundamental objective in reinforcement learning is the maintenance of a proper balance between exploration and exploitation. This problem becomes more challenging when the agent can only partially observe the states of its environment. In this paper we propose a dual-policy method for jointly learning the agent behavior and the balance between exploration exploitation, in partially observable environments. The method subsumes traditional exploration, in which the agent takes actions to gather information about the environment, and active learning, in which the agent queries an oracle for optimal actions (with an associated cost for employing the oracle). The form of the employed exploration is dictated by the specific problem. Theoretical guarantees are provided concerning the optimality of the balancing of exploration and exploitation. The effectiveness of the method is demonstrated by experimental results on benchmark problems.