Bridging the Gap between Sample-based and One-shot Neural Architecture Search with BONAS

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 (NeurIPS 2020)

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Han Shi, Renjie Pi, Hang Xu, Zhenguo Li, James Kwok, Tong Zhang


Neural Architecture Search (NAS) has shown great potentials in finding better neural network designs. Sample-based NAS is the most reliable approach which aims at exploring the search space and evaluating the most promising architectures. However, it is computationally very costly. As a remedy, the one-shot approach has emerged as a popular technique for accelerating NAS using weight-sharing. However, due to the weight-sharing of vastly different networks, the one-shot approach is less reliable than the sample-based approach. In this work, we propose BONAS (Bayesian Optimized Neural Architecture Search), a sample-based NAS framework which is accelerated using weight-sharing to evaluate multiple related architectures simultaneously. Specifically, we apply Graph Convolutional Network predictor as a surrogate model for Bayesian Optimization to select multiple related candidate models in each iteration. We then apply weight-sharing to train multiple candidate models simultaneously. This approach not only accelerates the traditional sample-based approach significantly, but also keeps its reliability. This is because weight-sharing among related architectures are more reliable than those in the one-shot approach. Extensive experiments are conducted to verify the effectiveness of our method over many competing algorithms.