Rethinking Neural Operations for Diverse Tasks

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 (NeurIPS 2021)

Bibtex Paper Reviews And Public Comment » Supplemental


Nicholas Roberts, Mikhail Khodak, Tri Dao, Liam Li, Christopher Ré, Ameet Talwalkar


An important goal of AutoML is to automate-away the design of neural networks on new tasks in under-explored domains. Motivated by this goal, we study the problem of enabling users to discover the right neural operations given data from their specific domain. We introduce a search space of operations called XD-Operations that mimic the inductive bias of standard multi-channel convolutions while being much more expressive: we prove that it includes many named operations across multiple application areas. Starting with any standard backbone such as ResNet, we show how to transform it into a search space over XD-operations and how to traverse the space using a simple weight sharing scheme. On a diverse set of tasks—solving PDEs, distance prediction for protein folding, and music modeling—our approach consistently yields models with lower error than baseline networks and often even lower error than expert-designed domain-specific approaches.