BANANAS: Bayesian Optimization with Neural Networks for Neural Architecture Search

Sep 25, 2019 Blind Submission readers: everyone Show Bibtex
  • TL;DR: We design a NAS algorithm that performs Bayesian optimization using a neural network model, which takes advantage of a novel way to featurize neural architectures, and it performs very well on multiple search spaces.
  • Abstract: Neural Architecture Search (NAS) has seen an explosion of research in the past few years. A variety of methods have been proposed to perform NAS, including reinforcement learning, Bayesian optimization with a Gaussian process model, evolutionary search, and gradient descent. In this work, we design a NAS algorithm that performs Bayesian optimization using a neural network model. We develop a path-based encoding scheme to featurize the neural architectures that are used to train the neural network model. This strategy is particularly effective for encoding architectures in cell-based search spaces. After training on just 200 random neural architectures, we are able to predict the validation accuracy of a new architecture to within one percent of its true accuracy on average. This may be of independent interest beyond Bayesian neural architecture search. We test our algorithm on the NASBench dataset (Ying et al. 2019), and show that our algorithm significantly outperforms other NAS methods including evolutionary search, reinforcement learning, and AlphaX (Wang et al. 2019). Our algorithm is over 100x more efficient than random search, and 3.8x more efficient than the next-best algorithm. We also test our algorithm on the search space used in DARTS (Liu et al. 2018), and show that our algorithm is competitive with state-of-the-art NAS algorithms on this search space.
  • Keywords: neural architecture search, Bayesian optimization
  • Code:
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