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Optimization: Overviews


The Weights can be Harmful: Pareto Search versus Weighted Search in Multi-Objective Search-Based Software Engineering

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

In presence of multiple objectives to be optimized in Search-Based Software Engineering (SBSE), Pareto search has been commonly adopted. It searches for a good approximation of the problem's Pareto optimal solutions, from which the stakeholders choose the most preferred solution according to their preferences. However, when clear preferences of the stakeholders (e.g., a set of weights which reflect relative importance between objectives) are available prior to the search, weighted search is believed to be the first choice since it simplifies the search via converting the original multi-objective problem into a single-objective one and enable the search to focus on what only the stakeholders are interested in. This paper questions such a "weighted search first" belief. We show that the weights can, in fact, be harmful to the search process even in the presence of clear preferences. Specifically, we conduct a large scale empirical study which consists of 38 systems/projects from three representative SBSE problems, together with two types of search budget and nine sets of weights, leading to 604 cases of comparisons. Our key finding is that weighted search reaches a certain level of solution quality by consuming relatively less resources at the early stage of the search; however, Pareto search is at the majority of the time (up to 77% of the cases) significantly better than its weighted counterpart, as long as we allow a sufficient, but not unrealistic search budget. This, together with other findings and actionable suggestions in the paper, allows us to codify pragmatic and comprehensive guidance on choosing weighted and Pareto search for SBSE under the circumstance that clear preferences are available. All code and data can be accessed at: https://github.com/ideas-labo/pareto-vs-weight-for-sbse.


Turnpike in optimal control of PDEs, ResNets, and beyond

arXiv.org Machine Learning

The \emph{turnpike property} in contemporary macroeconomics asserts that if an economic planner seeks to move an economy from one level of capital to another, then the most efficient path, as long as the planner has enough time, is to rapidly move stock to a level close to the optimal stationary or constant path, then allow for capital to develop along that path until the desired term is nearly reached, at which point the stock ought to be moved to the final target. Motivated in part by its nature as a resource allocation strategy, over the past decade, the turnpike property has also been shown to hold for several classes of partial differential equations arising in mechanics. When formalized mathematically, the turnpike theory corroborates the insights from economics: for an optimal control problem set in a finite-time horizon, optimal controls and corresponding states, are close (often exponentially), during most of the time, except near the initial and final time, to the optimal control and corresponding state for the associated stationary optimal control problem. In particular, the former are mostly constant over time. This fact provides a rigorous meaning to the asymptotic simplification that some optimal control problems appear to enjoy over long time intervals, allowing the consideration of the corresponding stationary problem for computing and applications. We review a slice of the theory developed over the past decade --the controllability of the underlying system is an important ingredient, and can even be used to devise simple turnpike-like strategies which are nearly optimal--, and present several novel applications, including, among many others, the characterization of Hamilton-Jacobi-Bellman asymptotics, and stability estimates in deep learning via residual neural networks.


A Survey of Methods for Automated Algorithm Configuration

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Algorithm configuration (AC) is concerned with the automated search of the most suitable parameter configuration of a parametrized algorithm. There is currently a wide variety of AC problem variants and methods proposed in the literature. Existing reviews do not take into account all derivatives of the AC problem, nor do they offer a complete classification scheme. To this end, we introduce taxonomies to describe the AC problem and features of configuration methods, respectively. We review existing AC literature within the lens of our taxonomies, outline relevant design choices of configuration approaches, contrast methods and problem variants against each other, and describe the state of AC in industry. Finally, our review provides researchers and practitioners with a look at future research directions in the field of AC.


Reinforcement Learning-Empowered Mobile Edge Computing for 6G Edge Intelligence

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Mobile edge computing (MEC) is considered a novel paradigm for computation-intensive and delay-sensitive tasks in fifth generation (5G) networks and beyond. However, its uncertainty, referred to as dynamic and randomness, from the mobile device, wireless channel, and edge network sides, results in high-dimensional, nonconvex, nonlinear, and NP-hard optimization problems. Thanks to the evolved reinforcement learning (RL), upon iteratively interacting with the dynamic and random environment, its trained agent can intelligently obtain the optimal policy in MEC. Furthermore, its evolved versions, such as deep RL (DRL), can achieve higher convergence speed efficiency and learning accuracy based on the parametric approximation for the large-scale state-action space. This paper provides a comprehensive research review on RL-enabled MEC and offers insight for development in this area. More importantly, associated with free mobility, dynamic channels, and distributed services, the MEC challenges that can be solved by different kinds of RL algorithms are identified, followed by how they can be solved by RL solutions in diverse mobile applications. Finally, the open challenges are discussed to provide helpful guidance for future research in RL training and learning MEC.


Flow-based Algorithms for Improving Clusters: A Unifying Framework, Software, and Performance

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Clustering points in a vector space or nodes in a graph is a ubiquitous primitive in statistical data analysis, and it is commonly used for exploratory data analysis. In practice, it is often of interest to "refine" or "improve" a given cluster that has been obtained by some other method. In this survey, we focus on principled algorithms for this cluster improvement problem. Many such cluster improvement algorithms are flow-based methods, by which we mean that operationally they require the solution of a sequence of maximum flow problems on a (typically implicitly) modified data graph. These cluster improvement algorithms are powerful, both in theory and in practice, but they have not been widely adopted for problems such as community detection, local graph clustering, semi-supervised learning, etc. Possible reasons for this are: the steep learning curve for these algorithms; the lack of efficient and easy to use software; and the lack of detailed numerical experiments on real-world data that demonstrate their usefulness. Our objective here is to address these issues. To do so, we guide the reader through the whole process of understanding how to implement and apply these powerful algorithms. We present a unifying fractional programming optimization framework that permits us to distill, in a simple way, the crucial components of all these algorithms. It also makes apparent similarities and differences between related methods. Viewing these cluster improvement algorithms via a fractional programming framework suggests directions for future algorithm development. Finally, we develop efficient implementations of these algorithms in our LocalGraphClustering Python package, and we perform extensive numerical experiments to demonstrate the performance of these methods on social networks and image-based data graphs.


Submodularity In Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

In this manuscript, we offer a gentle review of submodularity and supermodularity and their properties. We offer a plethora of submodular definitions; a full description of a number of example submodular functions and their generalizations; example discrete constraints; a discussion of basic algorithms for maximization, minimization, and other operations; a brief overview of continuous submodular extensions; and some historical applications. We then turn to how submodularity is useful in machine learning and artificial intelligence. This includes summarization, and we offer a complete account of the differences between and commonalities amongst sketching, coresets, extractive and abstractive summarization in NLP, data distillation and condensation, and data subset selection and feature selection. We discuss a variety of ways to produce a submodular function useful for machine learning, including heuristic hand-crafting, learning or approximately learning a submodular function or aspects thereof, and some advantages of the use of a submodular function as a coreset producer. We discuss submodular combinatorial information functions, and how submodularity is useful for clustering, data partitioning, parallel machine learning, active and semi-supervised learning, probabilistic modeling, and structured norms and loss functions.


A Brief Overview of Physics-inspired Metaheuristic Optimization Techniques

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Metaheuristic algorithms are methods devised to efficiently solve computationally challenging optimization problems. Researchers have taken inspiration from various natural and physical processes alike to formulate meta-heuristics that have successfully provided near-optimal or optimal solutions to several engineering tasks. This chapter focuses on meta-heuristic algorithms modelled upon non-linear physical phenomena having a concrete optimization paradigm, having shown formidable exploration and exploitation abilities for such optimization problems. Specifically, this chapter focuses on several popular physics-based metaheuristics as well as describing the underlying unique physical processes associated with each algorithm.


Maximizing information from chemical engineering data sets: Applications to machine learning

arXiv.org Machine Learning

It is well-documented how artificial intelligence can have (and already is having) a big impact on chemical engineering. But classical machine learning approaches may be weak for many chemical engineering applications. This review discusses how challenging data characteristics arise in chemical engineering applications. We identify four characteristics of data arising in chemical engineering applications that make applying classical artificial intelligence approaches difficult: (1) high variance, low volume data, (2) low variance, high volume data, (3) noisy/corrupt/missing data, and (4) restricted data with physics-based limitations. For each of these four data characteristics, we discuss applications where these data characteristics arise and show how current chemical engineering research is extending the fields of data science and machine learning to incorporate these challenges. Finally, we identify several challenges for future research.


Efficient Hyperparameter Tuning for Large Scale Kernel Ridge Regression

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Kernel methods provide a principled approach to nonparametric learning. While their basic implementations scale poorly to large problems, recent advances showed that approximate solvers can efficiently handle massive datasets. A shortcoming of these solutions is that hyperparameter tuning is not taken care of, and left for the user to perform. Hyperparameters are crucial in practice and the lack of automated tuning greatly hinders efficiency and usability. In this paper, we work to fill in this gap focusing on kernel ridge regression based on the Nystr\"om approximation. After reviewing and contrasting a number of hyperparameter tuning strategies, we propose a complexity regularization criterion based on a data dependent penalty, and discuss its efficient optimization. Then, we proceed to a careful and extensive empirical evaluation highlighting strengths and weaknesses of the different tuning strategies. Our analysis shows the benefit of the proposed approach, that we hence incorporate in a library for large scale kernel methods to derive adaptively tuned solutions.


Forecasting: theory and practice

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Forecasting has always been at the forefront of decision making and planning. The uncertainty that surrounds the future is both exciting and challenging, with individuals and organisations seeking to minimise risks and maximise utilities. The large number of forecasting applications calls for a diverse set of forecasting methods to tackle real-life challenges. This article provides a non-systematic review of the theory and the practice of forecasting. We provide an overview of a wide range of theoretical, state-of-the-art models, methods, principles, and approaches to prepare, produce, organise, and evaluate forecasts. We then demonstrate how such theoretical concepts are applied in a variety of real-life contexts. We do not claim that this review is an exhaustive list of methods and applications. However, we wish that our encyclopedic presentation will offer a point of reference for the rich work that has been undertaken over the last decades, with some key insights for the future of forecasting theory and practice. Given its encyclopedic nature, the intended mode of reading is non-linear. We offer cross-references to allow the readers to navigate through the various topics. We complement the theoretical concepts and applications covered by large lists of free or open-source software implementations and publicly-available databases.