Poster

Variational Gaussian Processes with Decoupled Conditionals

Xinran Zhu · Kaiwen Wu · Natalie Maus · Jacob Gardner · David Bindel

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #1903
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Thu 14 Dec 8:45 a.m. PST — 10:45 a.m. PST

Abstract:

Variational Gaussian processes (GPs) approximate exact GP inference by using a small set of inducing points to form a sparse approximation of the true posterior, with the fidelity of the model increasing with additional inducing points. Although the approximation error in principle can be reduced through the use of more inducing points, this leads to scaling optimization challenges and computational complexity. To achieve scalability, inducing point methods typically introduce conditional independencies and then approximations to the training and test conditional distributions. In this paper, we consider an alternative approach to modifying the training and test conditionals, in which we make them more flexible. In particular, we investigate decoupling the parametric form of the predictive mean and covariance in the conditionals, and learn independent parameters for predictive mean and covariance. We derive new evidence lower bounds (ELBO) under these more flexible conditionals, and provide two concrete examples of applying the decoupled conditionals. Empirically, we find this additional flexibility leads to improved model performance on a variety of regression tasks and Bayesian optimization (BO) applications.

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