Towards Feature-Based Performance Regression Using Trajectory Data

02/10/2021 ∙ by Anja Jankovic, et al. ∙ 0

Black-box optimization is a very active area of research, with many new algorithms being developed every year. This variety is needed, on the one hand, since different algorithms are most suitable for different types of optimization problems. But the variety also poses a meta-problem: which algorithm to choose for a given problem at hand? Past research has shown that per-instance algorithm selection based on exploratory landscape analysis (ELA) can be an efficient mean to tackle this meta-problem. Existing approaches, however, require the approximation of problem features based on a significant number of samples, which are typically selected through uniform sampling or Latin Hypercube Designs. The evaluation of these points is costly, and the benefit of an ELA-based algorithm selection over a default algorithm must therefore be significant in order to pay off. One could hope to by-pass the evaluations for the feature approximations by using the samples that a default algorithm would anyway perform, i.e., by using the points of the default algorithm's trajectory. We analyze in this paper how well such an approach can work. Concretely, we test how accurately trajectory-based ELA approaches can predict the final solution quality of the CMA-ES after a fixed budget of function evaluations. We observe that the loss of trajectory-based predictions can be surprisingly small compared to the classical global sampling approach, if the remaining budget for which solution quality shall be predicted is not too large. Feature selection, in contrast, did not show any advantage in our experiments and rather led to worsened prediction accuracy. The inclusion of state variables of CMA-ES only has a moderate effect on the prediction accuracy.

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