Bidirectional Learning for Offline Infinite-width Model-based Optimization

15 Sep 2022  ·  Can Chen, Yingxue Zhang, Jie Fu, Xue Liu, Mark Coates ·

In offline model-based optimization, we strive to maximize a black-box objective function by only leveraging a static dataset of designs and their scores. This problem setting arises in numerous fields including the design of materials, robots, DNA sequences, and proteins. Recent approaches train a deep neural network (DNN) on the static dataset to act as a proxy function, and then perform gradient ascent on the existing designs to obtain potentially high-scoring designs. This methodology frequently suffers from the out-of-distribution problem where the proxy function often returns poor designs. To mitigate this problem, we propose BiDirectional learning for offline Infinite-width model-based optimization (BDI). BDI consists of two mappings: the forward mapping leverages the static dataset to predict the scores of the high-scoring designs, and the backward mapping leverages the high-scoring designs to predict the scores of the static dataset. The backward mapping, neglected in previous work, can distill more information from the static dataset into the high-scoring designs, which effectively mitigates the out-of-distribution problem. For a finite-width DNN model, the loss function of the backward mapping is intractable and only has an approximate form, which leads to a significant deterioration of the design quality. We thus adopt an infinite-width DNN model, and propose to employ the corresponding neural tangent kernel to yield a closed-form loss for more accurate design updates. Experiments on various tasks verify the effectiveness of BDI. The code is available at

PDF Abstract


Computational Engineering, Finance, and Science


  Add Datasets introduced or used in this paper