Local Latent Space Bayesian Optimization over Structured Inputs

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Natalie Maus, Haydn Jones, Juston Moore, Matt J. Kusner, John Bradshaw, Jacob Gardner


Bayesian optimization over the latent spaces of deep autoencoder models (DAEs) has recently emerged as a promising new approach for optimizing challenging black-box functions over structured, discrete, hard-to-enumerate search spaces (e.g., molecules). Here the DAE dramatically simplifies the search space by mapping inputs into a continuous latent space where familiar Bayesian optimization tools can be more readily applied. Despite this simplification, the latent space typically remains high-dimensional. Thus, even with a well-suited latent space, these approaches do not necessarily provide a complete solution, but may rather shift the structured optimization problem to a high-dimensional one. In this paper, we propose LOL-BO, which adapts the notion of trust regions explored in recent work on high-dimensional Bayesian optimization to the structured setting. By reformulating the encoder to function as both an encoder for the DAE globally and as a deep kernel for the surrogate model within a trust region, we better align the notion of local optimization in the latent space with local optimization in the input space. LOL-BO achieves as much as 20 times improvement over state-of-the-art latent space Bayesian optimization methods across six real-world benchmarks, demonstrating that improvement in optimization strategies is as important as developing better DAE models.