Bayesian Optimization over High-Dimensional Combinatorial Spaces via Dictionary-based Embeddings


We consider the problem of optimizing expensive black-box functions over high-dimensional combinatorial spaces which arises in many science, engineering, and ML applications. We use Bayesian Optimization (BO) and propose a novel surrogate modeling approach for efficiently handling a large number of binary and categorical parameters. The key idea is to select a number of discrete structures from the input space (the dictionary) and use them to define an ordinal embedding for high-dimensional combinatorial structures. This allows us to use existing Gaussian process models for continuous spaces. We develop a principled approach based on binary wavelets to construct dictionaries for binary spaces, and propose a randomized construction method that generalizes to categorical spaces. We provide theoretical justification to support the effectiveness of the dictionary-based embeddings. Our experiments on diverse real-world benchmarks demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed surrogate modeling approach over state-of-the-art BO methods.

Twenty-Sixth International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics (AISTATS)