Controlled Random Search Improves Sample Mining and Hyper-Parameter Optimization.
A common challenge in machine learning and related fields is the need to efficiently explore high dimensional parameter spaces using small numbers of samples. Typical examples are hyper-parameter optimization in deep learning and sample mining in predictive modeling tasks. All such problems trade-off exploration, which samples the space without knowledge of the target function, and exploitation where information from previous evaluations is used in an adaptive feedback loop. Much of the recent focus has been on the exploitation while exploration is done with simple designs such as Latin hypercube or even uniform random sampling. In this paper, we introduce optimal space-filling sample designs for effective exploration of high dimensional spaces. Specifically, we propose a new parameterized family of sample designs called space-filling spectral designs, and introduce a framework to choose optimal designs for a given sample size and dimension. Furthermore, we present an efficient algorithm to synthesize a given spectral design. Finally, we evaluate the performance of spectral designs in both data space and model space applications. The data space exploration is targeted at recovering complex regression functions in high dimensional spaces. The model space exploration focuses on selecting hyper-parameters for a given neural network architecture. Our empirical studies demonstrate that the proposed approach consistently outperforms state-of-the-art techniques, particularly with smaller design sizes.