Bayesian inference via sparse Hamiltonian flowsDownload PDF

Published: 31 Oct 2022, Last Modified: 12 Mar 2024NeurIPS 2022 AcceptReaders: Everyone
Keywords: Bayes, coresets, flows, Hamiltonian
TL;DR: This paper shows how to (1) construct Bayesian coresets simply and tractably using variational flows, and (2) make variational flows cheaper in the large-data regime via coresets.
Abstract: A Bayesian coreset is a small, weighted subset of data that replaces the full dataset during Bayesian inference, with the goal of reducing computational cost. Although past work has shown empirically that there often exists a coreset with low inferential error, efficiently constructing such a coreset remains a challenge. Current methods tend to be slow, require a secondary inference step after coreset construction, and do not provide bounds on the data marginal evidence. In this work, we introduce a new method---sparse Hamiltonian flows---that addresses all three of these challenges. The method involves first subsampling the data uniformly, and then optimizing a Hamiltonian flow parametrized by coreset weights and including periodic momentum quasi-refreshment steps. Theoretical results show that the method enables an exponential compression of the dataset in a representative model, and that the quasi-refreshment steps reduce the KL divergence to the target. Real and synthetic experiments demonstrate that sparse Hamiltonian flows provide accurate posterior approximations with significantly reduced runtime compared with competing dynamical-system-based inference methods.
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