AAAI Publications, Twenty-Fourth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence

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Hydra: Automatically Configuring Algorithms for Portfolio-Based Selection
Lin Xu, Holger Hoos, Kevin Leyton-Brown

Last modified: 2010-07-03


The AI community has achieved great success in designing high-performance algorithms for hard combinatorial problems, given both considerable domain knowledge and considerable effort by human experts. Two influential methods aim to automate this process: automated algorithm configuration and portfolio-based algorithm selection. The former has the advantage of requiring virtually no domain knowledge, but produces only a single solver; the latter exploits per-instance variation, but requires a set of relatively uncorrelated candidate solvers. Here, we introduce Hydra, a novel technique for combining these two methods, thereby realizing the benefits of both. Hydra automatically builds a set of solvers with complementary strengths by iteratively configuring new algorithms. It is primarily intended for use in problem domains for which an adequate set of candidate solvers does not already exist. Nevertheless, we tested Hydra on a widely studied domain, stochastic local search algorithms for SAT, in order to characterize its performance against a well-established and highly competitive baseline. We found that Hydra consistently achieved major improvements over the best existing individual algorithms, and always at least roughly matched — and indeed often exceeded — the performance of the best portfolios of these algorithms.


automated algorithm design; portfolio-based algorithm selection; automated algorithm configuration; SAT; stochastic local search

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