Stochastic Multiple Target Sampling Gradient Descent

Hoang Phan · Ngoc Tran · Trung Le · Toan Tran · Nhat Ho · Dinh Phung

Hall J #710

Keywords: [ Multi objective optimization ] [ Multi task learning ] [ Stein Variational Gradient Descent ]


Sampling from an unnormalized target distribution is an essential problem with many applications in probabilistic inference. Stein Variational Gradient Descent (SVGD) has been shown to be a powerful method that iteratively updates a set of particles to approximate the distribution of interest. Furthermore, when analysing its asymptotic properties, SVGD reduces exactly to a single-objective optimization problem and can be viewed as a probabilistic version of this single-objective optimization problem. A natural question then arises: ``Can we derive a probabilistic version of the multi-objective optimization?''. To answer this question, we propose Stochastic Multiple Target Sampling Gradient Descent (MT-SGD), enabling us to sample from multiple unnormalized target distributions. Specifically, our MT-SGD conducts a flow of intermediate distributions gradually orienting to multiple target distributions, which allows the sampled particles to move to the joint high-likelihood region of the target distributions. Interestingly, the asymptotic analysis shows that our approach reduces exactly to the multiple-gradient descent algorithm for multi-objective optimization, as expected. Finally, we conduct comprehensive experiments to demonstrate the merit of our approach to multi-task learning.

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