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An informational approach to the global optimization of expensive-to-evaluate functions

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In many global optimization problems motivated by engineering applications, the number of function evaluations is severely limited by time or cost. To ensure that each evaluation contributes to the localization of good candidates for the role of global minimizer, a sequential choice of evaluation points is usually carried out. In particular, when Kriging is used to interpolate past evaluations, the uncertainty associated with the lack of information on the function can be expressed and used to compute a number of criteria accounting for the interest of an additional evaluation at any given point. This paper introduces minimizers entropy as a new Kriging-based criterion for the sequential choice of points at which the function should be evaluated. Based on stepwise uncertainty reduction, it accounts for the informational gain on the minimizer expected from a new evaluation. The criterion is approximated using conditional simulations of the Gaussian process model behind Kriging, and then inserted into an algorithm similar in spirit to the Efficient Global Optimization (EGO) algorithm. An empirical comparison is carried out between our criterion and expected improvement, one of the reference criteria in the literature. Experimental results indicate major evaluation savings over EGO. Finally, the method, which we call IAGO (for Informational Approach to Global Optimization), is extended to robust optimization problems, where both the factors to be tuned and the function evaluations are corrupted by noise.

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Correspondence to Emmanuel Vazquez.

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Villemonteix, J., Vazquez, E. & Walter, E. An informational approach to the global optimization of expensive-to-evaluate functions. J Glob Optim 44, 509–534 (2009).

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