NSGA-NET: A Multi-Objective Genetic Algorithm for Neural Architecture Search

Zhichao Lu, Ian Whalen, Vishnu Boddeti, Yashesh Dhebar, Kalyanmoy Deb, Erik Goodman and Wolfgang Banzhaf
Arxiv 2018 .


This paper introduces NSGA-Net, an evolutionary approach for neural architecture search (NAS). NSGA-Net is designed with three goals in mind: (1) a NAS procedure for multiple, possibly conflicting, objectives, (2) efficient exploration and exploitation of the space of potential neural network architectures, and (3) output of a diverse set of network architectures spanning a trade-off frontier of the objectives in a single run. NSGA-Net is a population-based search algorithm that explores a space of potential neural network architectures in three steps, namely, a population initialization step that is based on prior-knowledge from hand-crafted architectures, an exploration step comprising crossover and mutation of architectures and finally an exploitation step that applies the entire history of evaluated neural architectures in the form of a Bayesian Network prior. Experimental results suggest that combining the objectives of minimizing both an error metric and computational complexity, as measured by FLOPS, allows NSGA-Net to find competitive neural architectures near the Pareto front of both objectives on two different tasks, object classification and object alignment. NSGA-Net obtains networks that achieve 3.72% (at 4.5 million FLOP) error on CIFAR-10 classification and 8.64% (at 26.6 million FLOP) error on the CMU-Car alignment task.