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Reparameterization Gradients through Acceptance-Rejection Sampling Algorithms
Linköping University, Department of Electrical Engineering, Automatic Control. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering. Columbia University, USA.
Columbia University, USA, University of Cambridge, UK.
Columbia University, USA.
Columbia University, USA.
2017 (English)In: Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics, 2017Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Variational inference using the reparameterization trick has enabled large-scale approximate Bayesian inference in complex probabilistic models, leveraging stochastic optimization to sidestep intractable expectations. The reparameterization trick is applicable when we can simulate a random variable by applying a differentiable deterministic function on an auxiliary random variable whose distribution is fixed. For many distributions of interest (such as the gamma or Dirichlet), simulation of random variables relies on acceptance-rejection sampling. The discontinuity introduced by the accept-reject step means that standard reparameterization tricks are not applicable. We propose a new method that lets us leverage reparameterization gradients even when variables are outputs of a acceptance-rejection sampling algorithm. Our approach enables reparameterization on a larger class of variational distributions. In several studies of real and synthetic data, we show that the variance of the estimator of the gradient is significantly lower than other state-of-the-art methods. This leads to faster convergence of stochastic gradient variational inference.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Series
Proceedings of Machine Learning Research, ISSN 1938-7228 ; 54
National Category
Computer Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-152645OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-152645DiVA, id: diva2:1262049
Conference
Artificial Intelligence and Statistics, 20-22 April 2017, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA
Available from: 2018-11-09 Created: 2018-11-09 Last updated: 2018-11-21
In thesis
1. Machine learning using approximate inference: Variational and sequential Monte Carlo methods
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Machine learning using approximate inference: Variational and sequential Monte Carlo methods
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Automatic decision making and pattern recognition under uncertainty are difficult tasks that are ubiquitous in our everyday life. The systems we design, and technology we develop, requires us to coherently represent and work with uncertainty in data. Probabilistic models and probabilistic inference gives us a powerful framework for solving this problem. Using this framework, while enticing, results in difficult-to-compute integrals and probabilities when conditioning on the observed data. This means we have a need for approximate inference, methods that solves the problem approximately using a systematic approach. In this thesis we develop new methods for efficient approximate inference in probabilistic models.

There are generally two approaches to approximate inference, variational methods and Monte Carlo methods. In Monte Carlo methods we use a large number of random samples to approximate the integral of interest. With variational methods, on the other hand, we turn the integration problem into that of an optimization problem. We develop algorithms of both types and bridge the gap between them.

First, we present a self-contained tutorial to the popular sequential Monte Carlo (SMC) class of methods. Next, we propose new algorithms and applications based on SMC for approximate inference in probabilistic graphical models. We derive nested sequential Monte Carlo, a new algorithm particularly well suited for inference in a large class of high-dimensional probabilistic models. Then, inspired by similar ideas we derive interacting particle Markov chain Monte Carlo to make use of parallelization to speed up approximate inference for universal probabilistic programming languages. After that, we show how we can make use of the rejection sampling process when generating gamma distributed random variables to speed up variational inference. Finally, we bridge the gap between SMC and variational methods by developing variational sequential Monte Carlo, a new flexible family of variational approximations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2018. p. 39
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1969
National Category
Control Engineering Computer Sciences Signal Processing
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-152647 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-152647 (DOI)9789176851616 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-12-14, Ada Lovelace, Building B, Campus Valla, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-11-27 Created: 2018-11-09 Last updated: 2018-12-05Bibliographically approved

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Andersson Naesseth, Christian

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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