Stochastic search using the natural gradient

Sun Yi, Daan Wierstra, Tom Schaul, Jürgen Schmidhuber

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

48 Scopus citations


To optimize unknown 'fitness' functions, we present Natural Evolution Strategies, a novel algorithm that constitutes a principled alternative to standard stochastic search methods. It maintains a multinormal distribution on the set of solution candidates. The Natural Gradient is used to update the distribution's parameters in the direction of higher expected fitness, by efficiently calculating the inverse of the exact Fisher information matrix whereas previous methods had to use approximations. Other novel aspects of our method include optimal fitness baselines and importance mixing, a procedure adjusting batches with minimal numbers of fitness evaluations. The algorithm yields competitive results on a number of benchmarks.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 26th International Conference On Machine Learning, ICML 2009
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Dec 9 2009
Externally publishedYes


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