In many optimal design searches, the function to optimize is a simulator that is computationally expensive. While current High Performance Computing (HPC) methods are not able to solve such problems efficiently, parallelism can be coupled with approximate models (surrogates or meta-models) that imitate the simulator in timely fashion to achieve better results. This combined approach reduces the number of simulations thanks to surrogate use whereas the remaining evaluations are handled by supercomputers. While the surrogates’ ability to limit computational times is very attractive, integrating them into the overarching optimization process can be challenging. Indeed, it is critical to address the major trade-off between the quality (precision) and the efficiency (execution time) of the resolution. In this article, we investigate Evolution Controls (ECs) which are strategies that define the alternation between the simulator and the surrogate within the optimization process. We propose a new EC based on the prediction uncertainty obtained from Monte Carlo Dropout (MCDropout), a technique originally dedicated to quantifying uncertainty in deep learning. Investigations of such uncertainty-aware ECs remain uncommon in surrogate-assisted evolutionary optimization. In addition, we use parallel computing in a complementary way to address the high computational burden. Our new strategy is implemented in the context of a pioneering application to Tuberculosis Transmission Control. The reported results show that the MCDropout-based EC coupled with massively parallel computing outperforms strategies previously proposed in the field of surrogate-assisted optimization.
- Artificial Neural Network
- Evolution Control
- Massively parallel computing
- Surrogate-assisted optimization