skip to main content

Title: Bayesian optimization with adaptive surrogate models for automated experimental design

Bayesian optimization (BO) is an indispensable tool to optimize objective functions that either do not have known functional forms or are expensive to evaluate. Currently, optimal experimental design is always conducted within the workflow of BO leading to more efficient exploration of the design space compared to traditional strategies. This can have a significant impact on modern scientific discovery, in particular autonomous materials discovery, which can be viewed as an optimization problem aimed at looking for the maximum (or minimum) point for the desired materials properties. The performance of BO-based experimental design depends not only on the adopted acquisition function but also on the surrogate models that help to approximate underlying objective functions. In this paper, we propose a fully autonomous experimental design framework that uses more adaptive and flexible Bayesian surrogate models in a BO procedure, namely Bayesian multivariate adaptive regression splines and Bayesian additive regression trees. They can overcome the weaknesses of widely used Gaussian process-based methods when faced with relatively high-dimensional design space or non-smooth patterns of objective functions. Both simulation studies and real-world materials science case studies demonstrate their enhanced search efficiency and robustness.

more » « less
Award ID(s):
2119103 1545403 1835690
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Nature Publishing Group
Date Published:
Journal Name:
npj Computational Materials
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Bayesian optimization (BO) has been leveraged for guiding autonomous and high-throughput experiments in materials science. However, few have evaluated the efficiency of BO across a broad range of experimental materials domains. In this work, we quantify the performance of BO with a collection of surrogate model and acquisition function pairs across five diverse experimental materials systems. By defining acceleration and enhancement metrics for materials optimization objectives, we find that surrogate models such as Gaussian Process (GP) with anisotropic kernels and Random Forest (RF) have comparable performance in BO, and both outperform the commonly used GP with isotropic kernels. GP with anisotropic kernels has demonstrated the most robustness, yet RF is a close alternative and warrants more consideration because it is free from distribution assumptions, has smaller time complexity, and requires less effort in initial hyperparameter selection. We also raise awareness about the benefits of using GP with anisotropic kernels in future materials optimization campaigns.

    more » « less
  2. Optimizing a black-box function that is expensive to evaluate emerges in a gamut of machine learning and artifcial intelligence applications including drug discovery, policy optimization in robotics, and hyperparameter tuning of learning models to list a few. Bayesian optimization (BO) provides a principled framework to fnd the global optimum of such functions using a limited number of function evaluations. BO relies on a statistical surrogate model to actively select new query points, that is typically captured by a Gaussian process (GP). Unlike most existing approaches that hinge on a single GP surrogate model with a pre-selected kernel function that may confne the expressiveness of the sought function especially under the limited evaluation budget, the present work puts forth a weighted ensemble of GPs as a surrogate model. Building on the advocated Gaussian mixture (GM) posterior, the EGP framework adapts to the most ftted surrogate model as data arrive on-the-fy, offering a richer function space. For the acquisition of next evaluation points, the EGP-based posterior is coupled with an adaptive expected improvement (EI) criterion to balance exploration and exploitation of the search space. Numerical tests on a set of benchmark synthetic functions and two robotic tasks, demonstrate the impressive benefts of the proposed approach. 
    more » « less
  3. Bayesian optimization (BO) has well-documented merits for optimizing black-box functions with an expensive evaluation cost. Such functions emerge in applications as diverse as hyperparameter tuning, drug discovery, and robotics. BO hinges on a Bayesian surrogate model to sequentially select query points so as to balance exploration with exploitation of the search space. Most existing works rely on a single Gaussian process (GP) based surrogate model, where the kernel function form is typically preselected using domain knowledge. To bypass such a design process, this paper leverages an ensemble (E) of GPs to adaptively select the surrogate model fit on-the-fly, yielding a GP mixture posterior with enhanced expressiveness for the sought function. Acquisition of the next evaluation input using this EGP-based function posterior is then enabled by Thompson sampling (TS) that requires no additional design parameters. To endow function sampling with scalability, random feature-based kernel approximation is leveraged per GP model. The novel EGP-TS readily accommodates parallel operation. To further establish convergence of the proposed EGP-TS to the global optimum, analysis is conducted based on the notion of Bayesian regret for both sequential and parallel settings. Tests on synthetic functions and real-world applications showcase the merits of the proposed method. 
    more » « less
  4. Abstract Data-driven design shows the promise of accelerating materials discovery but is challenging due to the prohibitive cost of searching the vast design space of chemistry, structure, and synthesis methods. Bayesian optimization (BO) employs uncertainty-aware machine learning models to select promising designs to evaluate, hence reducing the cost. However, BO with mixed numerical and categorical variables, which is of particular interest in materials design, has not been well studied. In this work, we survey frequentist and Bayesian approaches to uncertainty quantification of machine learning with mixed variables. We then conduct a systematic comparative study of their performances in BO using a popular representative model from each group, the random forest-based Lolo model (frequentist) and the latent variable Gaussian process model (Bayesian). We examine the efficacy of the two models in the optimization of mathematical functions, as well as properties of structural and functional materials, where we observe performance differences as related to problem dimensionality and complexity. By investigating the machine learning models’ predictive and uncertainty estimation capabilities, we provide interpretations of the observed performance differences. Our results provide practical guidance on choosing between frequentist and Bayesian uncertainty-aware machine learning models for mixed-variable BO in materials design. 
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Optimizing material compositions often enhances thermoelectric performances. However, the large selection of possible base elements and dopants results in a vast composition design space that is too large to systematically search using solely domain knowledge. To address this challenge, a hybrid data‐driven strategy that integrates Bayesian optimization (BO) and Gaussian process regression (GPR) is proposed to optimize the composition of five elements (Ag, Se, S, Cu, and Te) in AgSe‐based thermoelectric materials. Data is collected from the literature to provide prior knowledge for the initial GPR model, which is updated by actively collected experimental data during the iteration between BO and experiments. Within seven iterations, the optimized AgSe‐based materials prepared using a simple high‐throughput ink mixing and blade coating method deliver a high power factor of 2100 µW m−1K−2, which is a 75% improvement from the baseline composite (nominal composition of Ag2Se1). The success of this study provides opportunities to generalize the demonstrated active machine learning technique to accelerate the development and optimization of a wide range of material systems with reduced experimental trials.

    more » « less