A mathematical framework for modelling constrained mixed-variable optimization problems is presented in a blackbox optimization context. The framework introduces a new notation and allows solution strategies. The notation framework allows meta and categorical variables to be explicitly and efficiently modelled, which facilitates the solution of such problems. The new term meta variables is used to describe variables that influence which variables are acting or nonacting: meta variables may affect the number of variables and constraints. The flexibility of the solution strategies supports the main blackbox mixed-variable optimization approaches: direct search methods and surrogate-based methods (Bayesian optimization). The notation system and solution strategies are illustrated through an example of a hyperparameter optimization problem from the machine learning community.
Published April 2022 , 26 pages