Discovering Evolution Strategies via Meta-Black-Box OptimizationDownload PDF

Published: 01 Feb 2023, Last Modified: 14 Jul 2024ICLR 2023 posterReaders: Everyone
Keywords: Meta-Learning, Evolution Strategies, Gradient-Free Optimization
TL;DR: We meta-learn evolution strategies, which flexibly generalize to unseen optimization problems, population sizes and optimization horizons.
Abstract: Optimizing functions without access to gradients is the remit of black-box meth- ods such as evolution strategies. While highly general, their learning dynamics are often times heuristic and inflexible — exactly the limitations that meta-learning can address. Hence, we propose to discover effective update rules for evolution strategies via meta-learning. Concretely, our approach employs a search strategy parametrized by a self-attention-based architecture, which guarantees the update rule is invariant to the ordering of the candidate solutions. We show that meta-evolving this system on a small set of representative low-dimensional analytic optimization problems is sufficient to discover new evolution strategies capable of generalizing to unseen optimization problems, population sizes and optimization horizons. Furthermore, the same learned evolution strategy can outperform established neuroevolution baselines on supervised and continuous control tasks. As additional contributions, we ablate the individual neural network components of our method; reverse engineer the learned strategy into an explicit heuristic form, which remains highly competitive; and show that it is possible to self-referentially train an evolution strategy from scratch, with the learned update rule used to drive the outer meta-learning loop.
Anonymous Url: I certify that there is no URL (e.g., github page) that could be used to find authors’ identity.
No Acknowledgement Section: I certify that there is no acknowledgement section in this submission for double blind review.
Code Of Ethics: I acknowledge that I and all co-authors of this work have read and commit to adhering to the ICLR Code of Ethics
Submission Guidelines: Yes
Please Choose The Closest Area That Your Submission Falls Into: General Machine Learning (ie none of the above)
Community Implementations: [![CatalyzeX](/images/catalyzex_icon.svg) 3 code implementations](
21 Replies