Information geometric optimization (IGO) is a general framework for stochastic optimization problems aiming at limiting the influence of arbitrary parametrization choices: the initial problem is transformed into the optimization of a smooth function on a Riemannian manifold, defining a parametrization-invariant first order differential equation and, thus, yielding an approximately parametrization-invariant algorithm (up to second order in the step size). We define the geodesic IGO update, a fully parametrization-invariant algorithm using the Riemannian structure, and we compute it for the manifold of Gaussians, thanks to Noether’s theorem. However, in similar algorithms, such as CMA-ES (Covariance Matrix Adaptation - Evolution Strategy) and xNES (exponential Natural Evolution Strategy), the time steps for the mean and the covariance are decoupled. We suggest two ways of doing so: twisted geodesic IGO (GIGO) and blockwise GIGO. Finally, we show that while the xNES algorithm is not GIGO, it is an instance of blockwise GIGO applied to the mean and covariance matrix separately. Therefore, xNES has an almost parametrization-invariant description.
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