Adaptive Monte-Carlo Optimization.
The celebrated Monte Carlo method estimates a quantity that is expensive to compute by random sampling. We propose adaptive Monte Carlo optimization: a general framework for discrete optimization of an expensive-to-compute function by adaptive random sampling. Applications of this framework have already appeared in machine learning but are tied to their specific contexts and developed in isolation. We take a unified view and show that the framework has broad applicability by applying it on several common machine learning problems: $k$-nearest neighbors, hierarchical clustering and maximum mutual information feature selection. On real data we show that this framework allows us to develop algorithms that confer a gain of a magnitude or two over exact computation. We also characterize the performance gain theoretically under regularity assumptions on the data that we verify in real world data. The code is available at https://github.com/govinda-kamath/combinatorial_MAB.
Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1805.08321
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