Random Hypervolume Scalarizations for Provable Multi-Objective Black Box Optimization

Part of Proceedings of the International Conference on Machine Learning 1 pre-proceedings (ICML 2020)

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Richard Zhang, Daniel Golovin


Single-objective black box optimization (also known as zeroth-order optimization) is the process of minimizing a scalar objective $f(x)$, given evaluations at adaptively chosen inputs $x$. In this paper, we consider multi-objective optimization, where $f(x)$ outputs a vector of possibly competing objectives and the goal is to converge to the Pareto frontier. Quantitatively, we wish to maximize the standard \emph{hypervolume indicator} metric, which measures the dominated hypervolume of the entire set of chosen inputs. In this paper, we introduce a novel scalarization function, which we term the \emph{hypervolume scalarization}, and show that drawing random scalarizations from an appropriately chosen distribution can be used to efficiently approximate the \emph{hypervolume indicator} metric. We utilize this connection to show that Bayesian optimization with our scalarization via common acquisition functions, such as Thompson Sampling or Upper Confidence Bound, provably converges to the whole Pareto frontier by deriving tight \emph{hypervolume regret} bounds on the order of $\widetilde{O}(\sqrt{T})$. Furthermore, we highlight the general utility of our scalarization framework by showing that any provably convergent single-objective optimization process can be converted to a multi-objective optimization process with provable convergence guarantees.