21. Automatic optimization of workflow parameters

VELES can help to determine what parameters are the best for a particular model. This is done using the genetic algorithm-based parameters optimization. The idea is to replace all the values in the configuration file with classes inherited from veles.genetics.config.Tuneable, such as veles.genetics.config.Range, and launch the workflow as usual, but with --optimize option set.

--optimize specifies the number of workflows evaluated within one generation and optionally sets the number of generations to evaluate. By default, generations keep emerging until there is any improvement. Here is a command line example:

veles -s --optimize=50 <workflow> <config>

By default, the plotters are disabled in evaluated workflows. You can enabled them by setting root.common.genetics.disable.plotting to False:

veles -s --optimize=50 <workflow> <config>- root.common.genetics.disable.plotting=False


Make sure, that you run genetic with fixed random seed (–random-seed). Otherwise, the results with optimized configuration (after genetic) will be different.

python3 -m veles -s --optimize=50 --random-seed 1234 <workflow> <config>


For developers: do not change workflow, configuration file or any other settings while workflow in optimization mode is running. Optimization loads code each time when another chromosome is running. So, better to copy or backup your Project before run in optimization mode. Otherwise, the results with optimized configuration (after genetic) could be different.

cp -r Veles VelesGenetic
cd VelesGenetic
python3 -m veles -s --optimize=50 --random-seed 1234 <workflow> <config>

By default, there will appear a plotter which shows the progress in terms of the selected metric. The metric value is got internally from any unit which implement veles.result_provider.IResultProvider interface and specify “EvaluationResult” in get_metric_values(). Such units include veles.znicz.decision.DecisionGD and veles.znicz.decision.DecisionMSE.

By default, only validation metric value is optimized. If it is needed to take train into account as well, or to do some non-linear processing of the metric value, one can override root.common.evaluation_transform function. For example, if we want to optimize the sum of validation and train metrics:

veles -s --optimize=50 <workflow> <config> "root.common.evaluation_transform=lambda v, t: v + t"

Internally, Veles launches an instance of veles.genetics.optimization_workflow.OptimizationWorkflow. It supports distributed operation, so you can parallelize the models’ evaluation as usual.

After optimization you will see something like this:

INFO:GeneticsOptimizer:Best fitness: 0.98
INFO:GeneticsOptimizer:Best snapshot:
INFO:GeneticsOptimizer:Best configuration
Configuration "root.mnistr":
{'layers': [{'->': {'bias_filling': 'uniform',
                    'bias_stddev': 0.026520000000000005,
                    'output_sample_shape': 220,
INFO:GeneticsOptimizer:Best configuration was saved to MNIST.mnist_best_config.py

Copy best configuration parameters to the <config> file from log or find best_config.py file in the folder, where Genetic optimization was running. Run workflow with the best configuration and with the same random seed to check the results:

python3 -m veles -s --random-seed 1234 <workflow> <best_config>

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