Manas: Mining Software Repositories to Assist AutoML

Giang Nguyen, Johir Islam, Rangeet Pan, Hridesh Rajan
Dept. of Computer Science, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, USA
arXiv:2112.03395 [cs.SE], (6 Dec 2021)


   title={Manas: Mining Software Repositories to Assist AutoML},

   author={Giang Nguyen and Johir Islam and Rangeet Pan and Hridesh Rajan},






Today deep learning is widely used for building software. A software engineering problem with deep learning is that finding an appropriate convolutional neural network (CNN) model for the task can be a challenge for developers. Recent work on AutoML, more precisely neural architecture search (NAS), embodied by tools like Auto-Keras aims to solve this problem by essentially viewing it as a search problem where the starting point is a default CNN model, and mutation of this CNN model allows exploration of the space of CNN models to find a CNN model that will work best for the problem. These works have had significant success in producing high-accuracy CNN models. There are two problems, however. First, NAS can be very costly, often taking several hours to complete. Second, CNN models produced by NAS can be very complex that makes it harder to understand them and costlier to train them. We propose a novel approach for NAS, where instead of starting from a default CNN model, the initial model is selected from a repository of models extracted from GitHub. The intuition being that developers solving a similar problem may have developed a better starting point compared to the default model. We also analyze common layer patterns of CNN models in the wild to understand changes that the developers make to improve their models. Our approach uses commonly occurring changes as mutation operators in NAS. We have extended Auto-Keras to implement our approach. Our evaluation using 8 top voted problems from Kaggle for tasks including image classification and image regression shows that given the same search time, without loss of accuracy, Manas produces models with 42.9% to 99.6% fewer number of parameters than Auto-Keras’ models. Benchmarked on GPU, Manas’ models train 30.3% to 641.6% faster than Auto-Keras’ models.
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