An essential task of Automated Machine Learning (AutoML) is the problem of automatically finding the pipeline with the best generalization performance on a given dataset. This problem has been addressed with sophisticated black-box optimization techniques such as Bayesian Optimization, Grammar-Based Genetic Algorithms, and tree search algorithms. Most of the current approaches are motivated by the assumption that optimizing the components of a pipeline in isolation may yield sub-optimal results. We present Naive AutoML, an approach that does precisely this: It optimizes the different algorithms of a pre-defined pipeline scheme in isolation. The finally returned pipeline is obtained by just taking the best algorithm of each slot. The isolated optimization leads to substantially reduced search spaces, and, surprisingly, this approach yields comparable and sometimes even better performance than current state-of-the-art optimizers.
Reinforcement Learning and recently Deep Reinforcement Learning are popular methods for solving sequential decision making problems modeled as Markov Decision Processes. RL modeling of a problem and selecting algorithms and hyper-parameters require careful considerations as different configurations may entail completely different performances. These considerations are mainly the task of RL experts; however, RL is progressively becoming popular in other fields where the researchers and system designers are not RL experts. Besides, many modeling decisions, such as defining state and action space, size of batches and frequency of batch updating, and number of timesteps are typically made manually. For these reasons, automating different components of RL framework is of great importance and it has attracted much attention in recent years. Automated RL provides a framework in which different components of RL including MDP modeling, algorithm selection and hyper-parameter optimization are modeled and defined automatically. In this article, we explore the literature and present recent work that can be used in automated RL. Moreover, we discuss the challenges, open questions and research directions in AutoRL.
Graph machine learning has been extensively studied in both academic and industry. However, as the literature on graph learning booms with a vast number of emerging methods and techniques, it becomes increasingly difficult to manually design the optimal machine learning algorithm for different graph-related tasks. To tackle the challenge, automated graph machine learning, which aims at discovering the best hyper-parameter and neural architecture configuration for different graph tasks/data without manual design, is gaining an increasing number of attentions from the research community. In this paper, we extensively discuss automated graph machine approaches, covering hyper-parameter optimization (HPO) and neural architecture search (NAS) for graph machine learning. We briefly overview existing libraries designed for either graph machine learning or automated machine learning respectively, and further in depth introduce AutoGL, our dedicated and the world's first open-source library for automated graph machine learning. Last but not least, we share our insights on future research directions for automated graph machine learning. This paper is the first systematic and comprehensive discussion of approaches, libraries as well as directions for automated graph machine learning.
Training machine learning models in a meaningful order, from the easy samples to the hard ones, using curriculum learning can provide performance improvements over the standard training approach based on random data shuffling, without any additional computational costs. Curriculum learning strategies have been successfully employed in all areas of machine learning, in a wide range of tasks. However, the necessity of finding a way to rank the samples from easy to hard, as well as the right pacing function for introducing more difficult data can limit the usage of the curriculum approaches. In this survey, we show how these limits have been tackled in the literature, and we present different curriculum learning instantiations for various tasks in machine learning. We construct a multi-perspective taxonomy of curriculum learning approaches by hand, considering various classification criteria. We further build a hierarchical tree of curriculum learning methods using an agglomerative clustering algorithm, linking the discovered clusters with our taxonomy. At the end, we provide some interesting directions for future work.
Machine learning plays a role in many deployed decision systems, often in ways that are difficult or impossible to understand by human stakeholders. Explaining, in a human-understandable way, the relationship between the input and output of machine learning models is essential to the development of trustworthy machine-learning-based systems. A burgeoning body of research seeks to define the goals and methods of explainability in machine learning. In this paper, we seek to review and categorize research on counterfactual explanations, a specific class of explanation that provides a link between what could have happened had input to a model been changed in a particular way. Modern approaches to counterfactual explainability in machine learning draw connections to the established legal doctrine in many countries, making them appealing to fielded systems in high-impact areas such as finance and healthcare. Thus, we design a rubric with desirable properties of counterfactual explanation algorithms and comprehensively evaluate all currently-proposed algorithms against that rubric. Our rubric provides easy comparison and comprehension of the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches and serves as an introduction to major research themes in this field. We also identify gaps and discuss promising research directions in the space of counterfactual explainability.
There has been considerable growth and interest in industrial applications of machine learning (ML) in recent years. ML engineers, as a consequence, are in high demand across the industry, yet improving the efficiency of ML engineers remains a fundamental challenge. Automated machine learning (AutoML) has emerged as a way to save time and effort on repetitive tasks in ML pipelines, such as data pre-processing, feature engineering, model selection, hyperparameter optimization, and prediction result analysis. In this paper, we investigate the current state of AutoML tools aiming to automate these tasks. We conduct various evaluations of the tools on many datasets, in different data segments, to examine their performance, and compare their advantages and disadvantages on different test cases.
Automated machine learning (AutoML) aims to find optimal machine learning solutions automatically given a machine learning problem. It could release the burden of data scientists from the multifarious manual tuning process and enable the access of domain experts to the off-the-shelf machine learning solutions without extensive experience. In this paper, we review the current developments of AutoML in terms of three categories, automated feature engineering (AutoFE), automated model and hyperparameter learning (AutoMHL), and automated deep learning (AutoDL). State-of-the-art techniques adopted in the three categories are presented, including Bayesian optimization, reinforcement learning, evolutionary algorithm, and gradient-based approaches. We summarize popular AutoML frameworks and conclude with current open challenges of AutoML.
This paper surveys the machine learning literature and presents machine learning as optimization models. Such models can benefit from the advancement of numerical optimization techniques which have already played a distinctive role in several machine learning settings. Particularly, mathematical optimization models are presented for commonly used machine learning approaches for regression, classification, clustering, and deep neural networks as well new emerging applications in machine teaching and empirical model learning. The strengths and the shortcomings of these models are discussed and potential research directions are highlighted.
Machine learning techniques have deeply rooted in our everyday life. However, since it is knowledge- and labor-intensive to pursuit good learning performance, human experts are heavily engaged in every aspect of machine learning. In order to make machine learning techniques easier to apply and reduce the demand for experienced human experts, automatic machine learning~(AutoML) has emerged as a hot topic of both in industry and academy. In this paper, we provide a survey on existing AutoML works. First, we introduce and define the AutoML problem, with inspiration from both realms of automation and machine learning. Then, we propose a general AutoML framework that not only covers almost all existing approaches but also guides the design for new methods. Afterward, we categorize and review the existing works from two aspects, i.e., the problem setup and the employed techniques. Finally, we provide a detailed analysis of AutoML approaches and explain the reasons underneath their successful applications. We hope this survey can serve as not only an insightful guideline for AutoML beginners but also an inspiration for future researches.
Policy gradient methods are widely used in reinforcement learning algorithms to search for better policies in the parameterized policy space. They do gradient search in the policy space and are known to converge very slowly. Nesterov developed an accelerated gradient search algorithm for convex optimization problems. This has been recently extended for non-convex and also stochastic optimization. We use Nesterov's acceleration for policy gradient search in the well-known actor-critic algorithm and show the convergence using ODE method. We tested this algorithm on a scheduling problem. Here an incoming job is scheduled into one of the four queues based on the queue lengths. We see from experimental results that algorithm using Nesterov's acceleration has significantly better performance compared to algorithm which do not use acceleration. To the best of our knowledge this is the first time Nesterov's acceleration has been used with actor-critic algorithm.
Machine learning is a popular approach to signatureless malware detection because it can generalize to never-before-seen malware families and polymorphic strains. This has resulted in its practical use for either primary detection engines or for supplementary heuristic detection by anti-malware vendors. Recent work in adversarial machine learning has shown that deep learning models are susceptible to gradient-based attacks, whereas non-differentiable models that report a score can be attacked by genetic algorithms that aim to systematically reduce the score. We propose a more general framework based on reinforcement learning (RL) for attacking static portable executable (PE) anti-malware engines. The general framework does not require a differentiable model nor does it require the engine to produce a score. Instead, an RL agent is equipped with a set of functionality-preserving operations that it may perform on the PE file. Through a series of games played against the anti-malware engine, it learns which sequences of operations are likely to result in evading the detector for any given malware sample. This enables completely black-box attacks against static PE anti-malware, and produces functional evasive malware samples as a direct result. We show in experiments that our method can attack a gradient-boosted machine learning model with evasion rates that are substantial and appear to be strongly dependent on the dataset. We demonstrate that attacks against this model appear to also evade components of publicly hosted antivirus engines. Adversarial training results are also presented: by retraining the model on evasive ransomware samples, a subsequent attack is 33% less effective. However, there are overfitting dangers when adversarial training, which we note. We release code to allow researchers to reproduce and improve this approach.