Advanced Topics in Automated Algorithm Design

The seminar language will be English (even if everyone is German-spoken, to practice presentation skills in English). The first meeting takes place on April 20th.

Topic this Term

Neural Architecture Search for Deep Learning

Recommended Background Knowledge

  • Deep learning (lecture)
  • Machine learning or statistical pattern recognition (lecture)
  • Machine learning for automated algorithm design


We will meet weekly (Friday 14-00-16:00, in building 101, room SR 01-016) to discuss research papers from the list of available papers below. Every week, one student presents a paper and leads the following discussion. All other participants read the paper and submit a summary, answer a given question and ask 1-3 questions due the Monday before. The presenter will have access to the questions and is expected to take them into account during the presentation. All participants will discuss the paper, its merits, and limitations. This discussion will, in part, be guided by the questions submitted by the participants. At the end of the week the presenter hands in two page report on the paper. The final grade takes the oral presentation and the written report into account.

The final grade takes the oral presentation, the written report, the quality of summaries and questions submitted, and class participation into account.

Besides the seminar topic, you will learn several skills necessary not only in academia:

  • read and understand research papers
  • assessing the strengths and weaknesses
  • oral presentation in front of your peers
  • discussion with your peers
  • high level summary of research with which you are not intimately familiar.

What to put into the final report?

In a nutshell, we think of this report as a detailed summary of the paper you presented that also covers points that would come up in a research discussion about the paper. (We say "paper", here even though, you are not restricted to only write about the paper you present.)

E.g., some questions that should be discussed at some point in the report next to a detailed summary are the following:

  • What is the paper's main contribution and why is it important?
  • How does it relate to other techniques in the literature?
  • What are strong and what are weak points about the paper?
  • What would be interesting follow-up work? Any possible improvements in the methods? Any further interesting applications?
  • Is the code/data available online? Does it run off-the-shelf? If not, what problems are there with running it? (You should only put a limited amount of time into this; not longer than a full work day.)

Formatting and length of the final report

Final reports have to be typeset in LaTeX (sorry, but you were warned). We will use the formatting guidelines and electronic templates from the AI conference IJCAI. Reports don't have to be long (you already wrote all the paper summaries); 2 pages in IJCAI style are appropriate. Do not go beyond 4 pages - you might not be able to include everything you would like to include, but that is common in academic writing.

For questions, please email us: lindauer@cs.uni-freiburg.de