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Conditional Matrix Flows for Gaussian Graphical Models

Marcello Massimo Negri · Fabricio Arend Torres · Volker Roth

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #1219

Abstract: Studying conditional independence among many variables with few observations is a challenging task.Gaussian Graphical Models (GGMs) tackle this problem by encouraging sparsity in the precision matrix through $l_q$ regularization with $q\leq1$.However, most GMMs rely on the $l_1$ norm because the objective is highly non-convex for sub-$l_1$ pseudo-norms.In the frequentist formulation, the $l_1$ norm relaxation provides the solution path as a function of the shrinkage parameter $\lambda$.In the Bayesian formulation, sparsity is instead encouraged through a Laplace prior, but posterior inference for different $\lambda$ requires repeated runs of expensive Gibbs samplers.Here we propose a general framework for variational inference with matrix-variate Normalizing Flow in GGMs, which unifies the benefits of frequentist and Bayesian frameworks.As a key improvement on previous work, we train with one flow a continuum of sparse regression models jointly for all regularization parameters $\lambda$ and all $l_q$ norms, including non-convex sub-$l_1$ pseudo-norms.Within one model we thus have access to (i) the evolution of the posterior for any $\lambda$ and any $l_q$ (pseudo-) norm, (ii) the marginal log-likelihood for model selection, and (iii) the frequentist solution paths through simulated annealing in the MAP limit.

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