Coverage-Based Designs Improve Sample Mining and Hyper-Parameter Optimization

Sampling one or more effective solutions from large search spaces is a recurring idea in machine learning, and sequential optimization has become a popular solution. Typical examples include data summarization, sample mining for predictive modeling and hyper-parameter optimization... Existing solutions attempt to adaptively trade-off between global exploration and local exploitation, wherein the initial exploratory sample is critical to their success. While discrepancy-based samples have become the de facto approach for exploration, results from computer graphics suggest that coverage-based designs, e.g. Poisson disk sampling, can be a superior alternative. In order to successfully adopt coverage-based sample designs to ML applications, which were originally developed for 2-d image analysis, we propose fundamental advances by constructing a parameterized family of designs with provably improved coverage characteristics, and by developing algorithms for effective sample synthesis. Using experiments in sample mining and hyper-parameter optimization for supervised learning, we show that our approach consistently outperforms existing exploratory sampling methods in both blind exploration, and sequential search with Bayesian optimization. read more

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