de Freitas, Nando, Smola, Alex, Zoghi, Masrour

This paper analyzes the problem of Gaussian process (GP) bandits with deterministic observations. The analysis uses a branch and bound algorithm that is related to the UCB algorithm of (Srinivas et al, 2010). For GPs with Gaussian observation noise, with variance strictly greater than zero, Srinivas et al proved that the regret vanishes at the approximate rate of $O(1/\sqrt{t})$, where t is the number of observations. To complement their result, we attack the deterministic case and attain a much faster exponential convergence rate. Under some regularity assumptions, we show that the regret decreases asymptotically according to $O(e^{-\frac{\tau t}{(\ln t)^{d/4}}})$ with high probability. Here, d is the dimension of the search space and tau is a constant that depends on the behaviour of the objective function near its global maximum.

Contal, Emile, Perchet, Vianney, Vayatis, Nicolas

In this paper, we analyze a generic algorithm scheme for sequential global optimization using Gaussian processes. The upper bounds we derive on the cumulative regret for this generic algorithm improve by an exponential factor the previously known bounds for algorithms like GP-UCB. We also introduce the novel Gaussian Process Mutual Information algorithm (GP-MI), which significantly improves further these upper bounds for the cumulative regret. We confirm the efficiency of this algorithm on synthetic and real tasks against the natural competitor, GP-UCB, and also the Expected Improvement heuristic.

We consider the problem of Bayesian optimization (BO) in one dimension, under a Gaussian process prior and Gaussian sampling noise. We provide a theoretical analysis showing that, under fairly mild technical assumptions on the kernel, the best possible cumulative regret up to time $T$ behaves as $\Omega(\sqrt{T})$ and $O(\sqrt{T\log T})$. This gives a tight characterization up to a $\sqrt{\log T}$ factor, and includes the first non-trivial lower bound for noisy BO. Our assumptions are satisfied, for example, by the squared exponential and Mat\'ern-$\nu$ kernels, with the latter requiring $\nu > 2$. Our results certify the near-optimality of existing bounds (Srinivas {\em et al.}, 2009) for the SE kernel, while proving them to be strictly suboptimal for the Mat\'ern kernel with $\nu > 2$.

Krause, Andreas, Ong, Cheng S.

How should we design experiments to maximize performance of a complex system, taking into account uncontrollable environmental conditions? How should we select relevant documents (ads) to display, given information about the user? These tasks can be formalized as contextual bandit problems, where at each round, we receive context (about the experimental conditions, the query), and have to choose an action (parameters, documents). The key challenge is to trade off exploration by gathering data for estimating the mean payoff function over the context-action space, and to exploit by choosing an action deemed optimal based on the gathered data. We model the payoff function as a sample from a Gaussian process defined over the joint context-action space, and develop CGP-UCB, an intuitive upper-confidence style algorithm. We show that by mixing and matching kernels for contexts and actions, CGP-UCB can handle a variety of practical applications. We further provide generic tools for deriving regret bounds when using such composite kernel functions. Lastly, we evaluate our algorithm on two case studies, in the context of automated vaccine design and sensor management. We show that context-sensitive optimization outperforms no or naive use of context.

Shekhar, Shubhanshu, Javidi, Tara

In this paper, the problem of estimating the level set of a black-box function from noisy and expensive evaluation queries is considered. A new algorithm for this problem in the Bayesian framework with a Gaussian Process (GP) prior is proposed. The proposed algorithm employs a hierarchical sequence of partitions to explore different regions of the search space at varying levels of detail depending upon their proximity to the level set boundary. It is shown that this approach results in the algorithm having a low complexity implementation whose computational cost is significantly smaller than the existing algorithms for higher dimensional search space $\X$. Furthermore, high probability bounds on a measure of discrepancy between the estimated level set and the true level set for the the proposed algorithm are obtained, which are shown to be strictly better than the existing guarantees for a large class of GPs. In the process, a tighter characterization of the information gain of the proposed algorithm is obtained which takes into account the structured nature of the evaluation points. This approach improves upon the existing technique of bounding the information gain with maximum information gain.