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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.


GraphNAS: Graph Neural Architecture Search with Reinforcement Learning

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) have been popularly used for analyzing non-Euclidean data such as social network data and biological data. Despite their success, the design of graph neural networks requires a lot of manual work and domain knowledge. In this paper, we propose a Graph Neural Architecture Search method (GraphNAS for short) that enables automatic search of the best graph neural architecture based on reinforcement learning. Specifically, GraphNAS first uses a recurrent network to generate variable-length strings that describe the architectures of graph neural networks, and then trains the recurrent network with reinforcement learning to maximize the expected accuracy of the generated architectures on a validation data set. Extensive experimental results on node classification tasks in both transductive and inductive learning settings demonstrate that GraphNAS can achieve consistently better performance on the Cora, Citeseer, Pubmed citation network, and protein-protein interaction network. On node classification tasks, GraphNAS can design a novel network architecture that rivals the best human-invented architecture in terms of test set accuracy.


Transfer Learning to Learn with Multitask Neural Model Search

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Deep learning models require extensive architecture design exploration and hyperparameter optimization to perform well on a given task. The exploration of the model design space is often made by a human expert, and optimized using a combination of grid search and search heuristics over a large space of possible choices. Neural Architecture Search (NAS) is a Reinforcement Learning approach that has been proposed to automate architecture design. NAS has been successfully applied to generate Neural Networks that rival the best human-designed architectures. However, NAS requires sampling, constructing, and training hundreds to thousands of models to achieve well-performing architectures. This procedure needs to be executed from scratch for each new task. The application of NAS to a wide set of tasks currently lacks a way to transfer generalizable knowledge across tasks. In this paper, we present the Multitask Neural Model Search (MNMS) controller. Our goal is to learn a generalizable framework that can condition model construction on successful model searches for previously seen tasks, thus significantly speeding up the search for new tasks. We demonstrate that MNMS can conduct an automated architecture search for multiple tasks simultaneously while still learning well-performing, specialized models for each task. We then show that pre-trained MNMS controllers can transfer learning to new tasks. By leveraging knowledge from previous searches, we find that pre-trained MNMS models start from a better location in the search space and reduce search time on unseen tasks, while still discovering models that outperform published human-designed models.


Efficient Neural Architecture Search via Parameter Sharing

arXiv.org Machine Learning

We propose Efficient Neural Architecture Search (ENAS), a fast and inexpensive approach for automatic model design. In ENAS, a controller learns to discover neural network architectures by searching for an optimal subgraph within a large computational graph. The controller is trained with policy gradient to select a subgraph that maximizes the expected reward on the validation set. Meanwhile the model corresponding to the selected subgraph is trained to minimize a canonical cross entropy loss. Thanks to parameter sharing between child models, ENAS is fast: it delivers strong empirical performances using much fewer GPU-hours than all existing automatic model design approaches, and notably, 1000x less expensive than standard Neural Architecture Search. On the Penn Treebank dataset, ENAS discovers a novel architecture that achieves a test perplexity of 55.8, establishing a new state-of-the-art among all methods without post-training processing. On the CIFAR-10 dataset, ENAS designs novel architectures that achieve a test error of 2.89%, which is on par with NASNet (Zoph et al., 2018), whose test error is 2.65%.


Neural Architecture Search with Reinforcement Learning

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Neural networks are powerful and flexible models that work well for many difficult learning tasks in image, speech and natural language understanding. Despite their success, neural networks are still hard to design. In this paper, we use a recurrent network to generate the model descriptions of neural networks and train this RNN with reinforcement learning to maximize the expected accuracy of the generated architectures on a validation set. On the CIFAR-10 dataset, our method, starting from scratch, can design a novel network architecture that rivals the best human-invented architecture in terms of test set accuracy. Our CIFAR-10 model achieves a test error rate of 3.65, which is 0.09 percent better and 1.05x faster than the previous state-of-the-art model that used a similar architectural scheme. On the Penn Treebank dataset, our model can compose a novel recurrent cell that outperforms the widely-used LSTM cell, and other state-of-the-art baselines. Our cell achieves a test set perplexity of 62.4 on the Penn Treebank, which is 3.6 perplexity better than the previous state-of-the-art model. The cell can also be transferred to the character language modeling task on PTB and achieves a state-of-the-art perplexity of 1.214.