BANANAS: Bayesian Optimization with Neural Architectures for Neural Architecture Search


  • Colin White Abacus.AI
  • Willie Neiswanger Stanford University Petuum, Inc.
  • Yash Savani Abacus.AI



Hyperparameter Tuning / Algorithm Configuration


Over the past half-decade, many methods have been considered for neural architecture search (NAS). Bayesian optimization (BO), which has long had success in hyperparameter optimization, has recently emerged as a very promising strategy for NAS when it is coupled with a neural predictor. Recent work has proposed different instantiations of this framework, for example, using Bayesian neural networks or graph convolutional networks as the predictive model within BO. However, the analyses in these papers often focus on the full-fledged NAS algorithm, so it is difficult to tell which individual components of the framework lead to the best performance. In this work, we give a thorough analysis of the "BO + neural predictor framework" by identifying five main components: the architecture encoding, neural predictor, uncertainty calibration method, acquisition function, and acquisition function optimization. We test several different methods for each component and also develop a novel path-based encoding scheme for neural architectures, which we show theoretically and empirically scales better than other encodings. Using all of our analyses, we develop a final algorithm called BANANAS, which achieves state-of-the-art performance on NAS search spaces. We adhere to the NAS research checklist (Lindauer and Hutter 2019) to facilitate best practices, and our code is available at




How to Cite

White, C., Neiswanger, W., & Savani, Y. (2021). BANANAS: Bayesian Optimization with Neural Architectures for Neural Architecture Search. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 35(12), 10293-10301.



AAAI Technical Track on Machine Learning V