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Structured Stochastic Gradient MCMC: a hybrid VI and MCMC approach
Antonios Alexos · Alex Boyd · Stephan Mandt
Event URL: https://openreview.net/forum?id=T6a8-6KDkG4 »

Stochastic gradient Markov chain Monte Carlo (SGMCMC) is considered the gold standard for Bayesian inference in large-scale models, such as Bayesian neural networks. Since practitioners face speed versus accuracy tradeoffs in these models, variational inference (VI) is often the preferable option. Unfortunately, VI makes strong assumptions on both the factorization and functional form of the posterior. In this work, we propose a new non-parametric variational approximation that makes no assumptions about the approximate posterior's functional form and allows practitioners to specify the exact dependencies the algorithm should respect or break. The approach relies on a new Langevin-type algorithm that operates on a modified energy function, where parts of the latent variables are averaged over samples from earlier iterations of the Markov chain. This way, statistical dependencies can be broken in a controlled way, allowing the chain to mix faster. This scheme can be further modified in a ``dropout'' manner, leading to even more scalability. By implementing the scheme on a ResNet-20 architecture, we obtain better predictive likelihoods and larger effective sample sizes than full SGMCMC.

Author Information

Antonios Alexos (University of California, Irvine)
Alex Boyd (UC Irvine)
Stephan Mandt (University of California, Irvine)

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