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Large Scale Nonparametric Bayesian Inference: Data Parallelisation in the Indian Buffet Process
Shakir Mohamed · David A Knowles · Zoubin Ghahramani · Finale P Doshi-Velez

Mon Dec 07 07:00 PM -- 11:59 PM (PST) @

Nonparametric Bayesian models provide a framework for flexible probabilistic modelling of complex datasets. Unfortunately, Bayesian inference methods often require high-dimensional averages and can be slow to compute, especially with the potentially unbounded representations associated with nonparametric models. We address the challenge of scaling nonparametric Bayesian inference to the increasingly large datasets found in real-world applications, focusing on the case of parallelising inference in the Indian Buffet Process (IBP). Our approach divides a large data set between multiple processors. The processors use message passing to compute likelihoods in an asynchronous, distributed fashion and to propagate statistics about the global Bayesian posterior. This novel MCMC sampler is the first parallel inference scheme for IBP-based models, scaling to datasets orders of magnitude larger than had previously been possible.

Author Information

Shakir Mohamed (DeepMind)
Shakir Mohamed

Shakir Mohamed is a senior staff scientist at DeepMind in London. Shakir's main interests lie at the intersection of approximate Bayesian inference, deep learning and reinforcement learning, and the role that machine learning systems at this intersection have in the development of more intelligent and general-purpose learning systems. Before moving to London, Shakir held a Junior Research Fellowship from the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), based in Vancouver at the University of British Columbia with Nando de Freitas. Shakir completed his PhD with Zoubin Ghahramani at the University of Cambridge, where he was a Commonwealth Scholar to the United Kingdom. Shakir is from South Africa and completed his previous degrees in Electrical and Information Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

David A Knowles (Stanford University)
Zoubin Ghahramani (Uber and University of Cambridge)

Zoubin Ghahramani is Professor of Information Engineering at the University of Cambridge, where he leads the Machine Learning Group. He studied computer science and cognitive science at the University of Pennsylvania, obtained his PhD from MIT in 1995, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto. His academic career includes concurrent appointments as one of the founding members of the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit in London, and as a faculty member of CMU's Machine Learning Department for over 10 years. His current research interests include statistical machine learning, Bayesian nonparametrics, scalable inference, probabilistic programming, and building an automatic statistician. He has held a number of leadership roles as programme and general chair of the leading international conferences in machine learning including: AISTATS (2005), ICML (2007, 2011), and NIPS (2013, 2014). In 2015 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Finale P Doshi-Velez (Harvard)

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