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|Abstract:||Variational inference (VI) is widely used as an efficient alternative to Markov chain Monte Carlo. It posits a family of approximating distributions q and finds the closest member to the exact posterior p. Closeness is usually measured via a divergence D(q||p) from q to p. While successful, this approach also has problems. Notably, it typically leads to underestimation of the posterior variance. In this paper we propose CHIVI, a black-box variational inference algorithm that minimizes Dχ(p||q), the χ-divergence from p to q. CHIVI minimizes an upper bound of the model evidence, which we term the χ upper bound (CUBO). Minimizing the CUBO leads to improved posterior uncertainty, and it can also be used with the classical VI lower bound (ELBO) to provide a sandwich estimate of the model evidence. We study CHIVI on three models: probit regression, Gaussian process classification, and a Cox process model of basketball plays. When compared to expectation propagation and classical VI, CHIVI produces better error rates and more accurate estimates of posterior variance.|
|Citation:||Dieng, Adji Bousso, Dustin Tran, Rajesh Ranganath, John Paisley, and David Blei. "Variational Inference via χ Upper Bound Minimization." Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 30 (2017), pp. 2732-2741.|
|Pages:||2732 - 2741|
|Type of Material:||Conference Article|
|Journal/Proceeding Title:||Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems|
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