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BLOX: Macro Neural Architecture Search Benchmark and Algorithms

Thomas Chau · Łukasz Dudziak · Hongkai Wen · Nicholas Lane · Mohamed Abdelfattah

Keywords: [ Neural Architecture Search ] [ benchmark ] [ dataset ] [ Search space ]


Neural architecture search (NAS) has been successfully used to design numerous high-performance neural networks. However, NAS is typically compute-intensive, so most existing approaches restrict the search to decide the operations and topological structure of a single block only, then the same block is stacked repeatedly to form an end-to-end model. Although such an approach reduces the size of search space, recent studies show that a macro search space, which allows blocks in a model to be different, can lead to better performance. To provide a systematic study of the performance of NAS algorithms on a macro search space, we release Blox – a benchmark that consists of 91k unique models trained on the CIFAR-100 dataset. The dataset also includes runtime measurements of all the models on a diverse set of hardware platforms. We perform extensive experiments to compare existing algorithms that are well studied on cell-based search spaces, with the emerging blockwise approaches that aim to make NAS scalable to much larger macro search spaces. The Blox benchmark and code are available at

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