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A Non-Asymptotic Analysis for Stein Variational Gradient Descent
Anna Korba · Adil Salim · Michael Arbel · Giulia Luise · Arthur Gretton

Thu Dec 10 09:00 AM -- 11:00 AM (PST) @ Poster Session 5 #1497
We study the Stein Variational Gradient Descent (SVGD) algorithm, which optimises a set of particles to approximate a target probability distribution $\pi\propto e^{-V}$ on $\R^d$. In the population limit, SVGD performs gradient descent in the space of probability distributions on the KL divergence with respect to $\pi$, where the gradient is smoothed through a kernel integral operator. In this paper, we provide a novel finite time analysis for the SVGD algorithm. We provide a descent lemma establishing that the algorithm decreases the objective at each iteration, and rates of convergence for the averaged Stein Fisher divergence (also referred to as Kernel Stein Discrepancy) . We also provide a convergence result of the finite particle system corresponding to the practical implementation of SVGD to its population version.

Author Information

Anna Korba (UCL)
Adil Salim (KAUST)
Michael Arbel (UCL)
Giulia Luise (University College London)
Arthur Gretton (Gatsby Unit, UCL)

Arthur Gretton is a Professor with the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit at UCL. He received degrees in Physics and Systems Engineering from the Australian National University, and a PhD with Microsoft Research and the Signal Processing and Communications Laboratory at the University of Cambridge. He previously worked at the MPI for Biological Cybernetics, and at the Machine Learning Department, Carnegie Mellon University. Arthur's recent research interests in machine learning include the design and training of generative models, both implicit (e.g. GANs) and explicit (high/infinite dimensional exponential family models), nonparametric hypothesis testing, and kernel methods. He has been an associate editor at IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence from 2009 to 2013, an Action Editor for JMLR since April 2013, an Area Chair for NeurIPS in 2008 and 2009, a Senior Area Chair for NeurIPS in 2018, an Area Chair for ICML in 2011 and 2012, and a member of the COLT Program Committee in 2013. Arthur was program chair for AISTATS in 2016 (with Christian Robert), tutorials chair for ICML 2018 (with Ruslan Salakhutdinov), workshops chair for ICML 2019 (with Honglak Lee), program chair for the Dali workshop in 2019 (with Krikamol Muandet and Shakir Mohammed), and co-organsier of the Machine Learning Summer School 2019 in London (with Marc Deisenroth).

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