Snoek, Jasper, Larochelle, Hugo, Adams, Ryan P.

The use of machine learning algorithms frequently involves careful tuning of learning parameters and model hyperparameters. Unfortunately, this tuning is often a "black art" requiring expert experience, rules of thumb, or sometimes brute-force search. There is therefore great appeal for automatic approaches that can optimize the performance of any given learning algorithm to the problem at hand. In this work, we consider this problem through the framework of Bayesian optimization, in which a learning algorithm's generalization performance is modeled as a sample from a Gaussian process (GP). We show that certain choices for the nature of the GP, such as the type of kernel and the treatment of its hyperparameters, can play a crucial role in obtaining a good optimizer that can achieve expert-level performance.

Rosenberg, Charles, Ladsariya, Alok, Minka, Tom

We present a Bayesian approach to color constancy which utilizes a non-Gaussian probabilistic model of the image formation process. The parameters of this model are estimated directly from an uncalibrated image set and a small number of additional algorithmic parameters are chosen using cross validation. The algorithm is empirically shown to exhibit RMS error lower than other color constancy algorithms based on the Lambertian surface reflectance model when estimating the illuminants of a set of test images. This is demonstrated via a direct performance comparison utilizing a publicly available set of real world test images and code base.

Rosenberg, Charles, Ladsariya, Alok, Minka, Tom

Ellis, Kevin, Solar-Lezama, Armando, Tenenbaum, Josh

Towards learning programs from data, we introduce the problem of sampling programs from posterior distributions conditioned on that data. Within this setting, we propose an algorithm that uses a symbolic solver to efficiently sample programs. The proposal combines constraint-based program synthesis with sampling via random parity constraints. We give theoretical guarantees on how well the samples approximate the true posterior, and have empirical results showing the algorithm is efficient in practice, evaluating our approach on 22 program learning problems in the domains of text editing and computer-aided programming. Papers published at the Neural Information Processing Systems Conference.

We tested the performance of the AIS-BN algorithm along with two state of the art general purpose sampling algorithms, likelihood weighting (Fung & Chang, 1989; Shachter & Peot, 1989) and self-importance sampling (Shachter & Peot, 1989). We used in our tests three large real Bayesian network models available to the scientific community: the CPCS network (Pradhan et al., 1994), the PathFinder network (Heckerman, Horvitz, & Nathwani, 1990), and the ANDES network (Conati, Gertner, VanLehn, & Druzdzel, 1997), with evidence as unlikely as 10 -41. While the AIS-BN algorithm always performed better than the other two algorithms, in the majority of the test cases it achieved orders of magnitude improvement in precision of the results. Improvement in speed given a desired precision is even more dramatic, although we are unable to report numerical results here, as the other algorithms almost never achieved the precision reached even by the first few iterations of the AIS-BN algorithm.