The *Knowledge Gradient* (KG) (see [2, 3]) is a look-ahead acquisition function that quantifies the expected increase in the maximum of the modeled black-box function $f$ from obtaining additional (random) observations collected at the candidate set $\mathbf{x}$. KG often shows improved Bayesian Optimization performance relative to simpler acquisition functions such as Expected Improvement, but in its traditional form it is computationally expensive and hard to implement.

BoTorch implements a generalized variant of parallel KG [3] given by $$ \alpha_{\text{KG}}(\mathbf{x}) = \mathbb{E}_{\mathcal{D}_{\mathbf{x}}} \Bigl[\, \max_{x' \in \mathbb{X}} \mathbb{E} \left[ g(\xi)\right] \Bigr] - \mu, $$ where $\xi \sim \mathcal{P}(f(x') \mid \mathcal{D} \cup \mathcal{D}_{\mathbf{x}})$ is the posterior at $x'$ conditioned on $\mathcal{D}_{\mathbf{x}}$, the (random) dataset observed at $\mathbf{x}$, and $\mu := \max_{x}\mathbb{E}[g(f(x)) \mid \mathcal{D}]$.

In general, we recommend using Ax for a simple BO setup like this one, since this will simplify your setup (including the amount of code you need to write) considerably. You can use a custom BoTorch model and acquisition function in Ax, following the Using BoTorch with Ax tutorial. To use the KG acquisition function, it is sufficient to add `"botorch_acqf_class": qKnowledgeGradient,`

to `model_kwargs`

. The linked tutorial shows how to use a custom BoTorch model. If you'd like to let Ax choose which model to use based on the properties of the search space, you can skip the `surrogate`

argument in `model_kwargs`

.

The conventional approach for optimizing parallel KG (where $g(\xi) = \xi$) is to apply stochastic gradient ascent, with each gradient observation potentially being an average over multiple samples. For each sample $i$, the inner optimization problem $\max_{x_i \in \mathbb{X}} \mathbb{E} \left[ \xi^i \mid \mathcal{D}_{\mathbf{x}}^i \right]$ for the posterior mean is solved numerically. An unbiased stochastic gradient of KG can then be computed by leveraging the envelope theorem and the optimal points $\{x_i^*\}$. In this approach, every iteration requires solving numerous inner optimization problems, one for each outer sample, in order to estimate just one stochastic gradient.

The "one-shot" formulation of KG in BoTorch treats optimizing $\alpha_{\text{KG}}(\mathbf{x})$ as an entirely deterministic optimization problem. It involves drawing $N_{\!f} = $ `num_fantasies`

fixed base samples $\mathbf{Z}_f:= \{ \mathbf{Z}^i_f \}_{1\leq i \leq N_{\!f}}$ for the outer expectation, sampling fantasy data $\{\mathcal{D}_{\mathbf{x}}^i(\mathbf{Z}_f^i)\}_{1\leq i \leq N_{\!f}}$, and constructing associated fantasy models $\{\mathcal{M}^i(\mathbf{Z}_f^i)\}_{1 \leq i \leq N_{\!f}}$. The inner maximization can then be moved outside of the sample average, resulting in the following optimization problem:
$$
\max_{\mathbf{x} \in \mathbb{X}}\alpha_{\text{KG}}(\mathbf{x}) \approx \max_{\mathbf{x}\in \mathbb{X}, \mathbf{X}' \in \mathbb{X}^{N_{\!f}} } %=1}^{\!N_{\!f}}}
\sum_{i=1}^{N_{\!f}} \mathbb{E}\left[g(\xi^i)\right],
$$
where $\xi^i \sim \mathcal{P}(f(x'^i) \mid \mathcal{D} \cup \mathcal{D}_{\mathbf{x}}^i(\mathbf{Z}_f^i))$ and $\mathbf{X}' := \{x'^i\}_{1 \leq i \leq N_{\!f}}$.

If the inner expectation does not have an analytic expression, one can also draw fixed base samples $\mathbf{Z}_I:= \{ \mathbf{Z}^i_I \}_{1\leq i\leq N_{\!I}}$ and use an MC approximation as with the standard MC acquisition functions of type `MCAcquisitionFunction`

. In either case one is left with a deterministic optimization problem.

The key difference from the envelope theorem approach is that we do not solve the inner optimization problem to completion for every fantasy point for every gradient step with respect to $\mathbf{x}$. Instead, we solve the nested optimization problem jointly over $\mathbf{x}$ and the fantasy points $\mathbf{X}'$. The resulting optimization problem is of higher dimension, namely $(q + N_{\!f})d$ instead of $qd$, but unlike the envelope theorem formulation it can be solved as a single optimization problem, which can be solved using standard methods for deterministic optimization.

[1] M. Balandat, B. Karrer, D. R. Jiang, S. Daulton, B. Letham, A. G. Wilson, and E. Bakshy. BoTorch: A Framework for Efficient Monte-Carlo Bayesian Optimization. Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33, 2020.

[2] P. Frazier, W. Powell, and S. Dayanik. A Knowledge-Gradient policy for sequential information collection. SIAM Journal on Control and Optimization, 2008.

[3] J. Wu and P. Frazier. The parallel knowledge gradient method for batch bayesian optimization. NIPS 2016.

We'll fit a standard `SingleTaskGP`

model on noisy observations of the synthetic function $f(x) = \sin(2 \pi x_1) * \cos(2 \pi x_2)$ in `d=2`

dimensions on the hypercube $[0, 1]^2$.

In [1]:

```
import os
import math
import torch
from botorch.fit import fit_gpytorch_model
from botorch.models import SingleTaskGP
from botorch.utils import standardize
from gpytorch.mlls import ExactMarginalLogLikelihood
SMOKE_TEST = os.environ.get("SMOKE_TEST")
```

In [2]:

```
bounds = torch.stack([torch.zeros(2), torch.ones(2)])
train_X = bounds[0] + (bounds[1] - bounds[0]) * torch.rand(20, 2)
train_Y = torch.sin(2 * math.pi * train_X[:, [0]]) * torch.cos(2 * math.pi * train_X[:, [1]])
train_Y = standardize(train_Y + 0.05 * torch.randn_like(train_Y))
model = SingleTaskGP(train_X, train_Y)
mll = ExactMarginalLogLikelihood(model.likelihood, model)
fit_gpytorch_model(mll);
```

The `qKnowledgeGradient`

complies with the standard `MCAcquisitionFunction`

API. The only mandatory argument in addition to the model is `num_fantasies`

the number of fantasy samples. More samples result in a better approximation of KG, at the expense of both memory and wall time.

`qKnowledgeGradient`

also supports the other parameters of `MCAcquisitionFunction`

, such as a generic objective `objective`

and pending points `X_pending`

. It also accepts a `current_value`

argument that is the maximum posterior mean of the current model (which can be obtained by maximizing `PosteriorMean`

acquisition function). This does not change the optimizer so it is not required, but it means that the acquisition value is some constant shift of the actual "Knowledge Gradient" value.

In [3]:

```
from botorch.acquisition import qKnowledgeGradient
NUM_FANTASIES = 128 if not SMOKE_TEST else 4
qKG = qKnowledgeGradient(model, num_fantasies=NUM_FANTASIES)
```

`qKnowledgeGradient`

subclasses `OneShotAcquisitionFunction`

, which makes sure that the fantasy parameterization $\mathbf{X}'$ is automatically generated and optimized when calling `optimize_acqf`

on the acquisition function. This means that optimizing one-shot KG in BoTorch is just a easy as optimizing any other acquisition function (from an API perspective, at least). It turns out that a careful initialization of the fantasy points can significantly help with the optimization (see the logic in `botorch.optim.initializers.gen_one_shot_kg_initial_conditions`

for more information).

Here we use `num_restarts=10`

random initial `q`

-batches with `q=2`

in parallel, with the intialization heuristic starting from `raw_samples = 512`

raw points (note that since `qKnowledgeGradient`

is significantly more expensive to evaluate than other acquisition functions, large values of `num_restarts`

and `raw_samples`

, which are typically feasible in other settings, can result in long wall times and potential memory issues).

Finally, since we do not pass a `current_value`

argument, this value is not actually the KG value, but offset by the constant (w.r.t. the candidates) $\mu := \max_{x}\mathbb{E}[g(f(x)) \mid \mathcal{D}]$.

In [4]:

```
from botorch.optim import optimize_acqf
from botorch.utils.sampling import manual_seed
NUM_RESTARTS = 10 if not SMOKE_TEST else 2
RAW_SAMPLES = 512 if not SMOKE_TEST else 4
with manual_seed(1234):
candidates, acq_value = optimize_acqf(
acq_function=qKG,
bounds=bounds,
q=2,
num_restarts=NUM_RESTARTS,
raw_samples=RAW_SAMPLES,
)
```

In [5]:

```
candidates
```

Out[5]:

tensor([[0.1488, 1.0000], [0.1084, 0.0012]])

In [6]:

```
acq_value
```

Out[6]:

tensor(2.4176)

We first need to find the maximum posterior mean - we can use a large number of random restarts and raw_samples to increase the likelihood that we do indeed find it (this is a non-convex optimization problem, after all).

In [7]:

```
from botorch.acquisition import PosteriorMean
NUM_RESTARTS = 20 if not SMOKE_TEST else 2
RAW_SAMPLES = 2048 if not SMOKE_TEST else 4
argmax_pmean, max_pmean = optimize_acqf(
acq_function=PosteriorMean(model),
bounds=bounds,
q=1,
num_restarts=20 if not SMOKE_TEST else 2,
raw_samples=2048 if not SMOKE_TEST else 4,
)
```

Now we can optimize KG after passing the current value. We also pass in the `sampler`

from the original `qKG`

above, which containst the fixed base samples $\mathbf{Z}_f$. This is to ensure that we optimize the same approximation and so our values are an apples-to-apples comparison (as `num_fantasies`

increases, the effect of this randomness will get less and less important).

In [8]:

```
qKG_proper = qKnowledgeGradient(
model,
num_fantasies=NUM_FANTASIES,
sampler=qKG.sampler,
current_value=max_pmean,
)
with manual_seed(1234):
candidates_proper, acq_value_proper = optimize_acqf(
acq_function=qKG_proper,
bounds=bounds,
q=2,
num_restarts=NUM_RESTARTS,
raw_samples=RAW_SAMPLES,
)
```

In [9]:

```
candidates_proper
```

Out[9]:

tensor([[0.0000, 0.1795], [0.1480, 0.0015]])

In [10]:

```
acq_value_proper
```

Out[10]:

tensor(0.1131)