Human and Machine Learning
Two paths for Assignment 8
this assignment, I'll have you experiment with Bayesian optimization.
We have one more assignment for the course, which will involve
sequential or time series models. In lieu of assignments 8 and 9, you
are welcome to do a mini course project. I have spoken to several of
you who have research ideas that are a bit more interesting and
involved than a single homework assignment, and I have suggested that
you work on your ideas instead of assignments 8 and 9. For the rest of
you, if you see avenues for using probabilistic models in your own
research, the mini-project would be an opportunity to start such an
investigation. If you want to discuss a potential mini-project, let's
If you choose to do the mini project, I will ask you to report on the
project during our last meeting during finals week.
choose to do the standard assignments 8 and 9, I would like you to get
experience running Bayesian optimization with Gaussian process
surrogate functions. I would like you to get first hand experience with
initializing hyperparameters, optimizing the hyperparameters,
iteratively running experiments, and observing the convergence on a
You are welcome to write as much of the software on your own as you'd
like, but it's perfectly acceptable for you to use existing software
packages. The packages I know about are as follows:
a function to generate an experiment result given an input vector. I'd
suggest using a 2-dimensional input space in order that you can easily
visualize the function as well as the progress of Bayesian
optimization. For example, your function might be
based on a mixture of Gaussians added to a linear function of the
inputs. Make the function complex enough that there are some local
optima and that the global optimum isn't in one corner of the space.
I'd like your function to add noise to the returned value, e.g.,
Gaussian mean zero noise. Make a plot of the expected value of the
Bayesian optimization with experiment results returned by your
function. For the Bayesian optimization, do not build in any knowledge
you have about the solution, e.g., allow the optimization procedure to
estimate the function mean and observation noise variance.
Describe the assumptions you made in your model and report on
the outcome of experiments, e.g., report how close the estimated
optimum is from the true optimum as more experiments are performed. To
get a reliable estimate of convergence, you'll need to run the
optimization process multiple times.
Test at least two different GP covariance functions, and run the
optimization process enough times you can determine which covariance
function converges most rapidly.
Task 3 [OPTIONAL]
If you're enjoying Bayesian optimization, you
might also try to implement multiarm bandit optimization. (The code
itself is pretty trivial.) Or you might try to do GP surrogate-based
optimization with a non-Gaussian observation model, e.g., suppose the
observations are binary (yes/no) and the likelihood is the probability
of a 'yes' response using a logistic function of the latent GP value.