Representing inferential uncertainty in deep neural networks through sampling

Patrick McClure, Nikolaus Kriegeskorte

Nov 04, 2016 (modified: Jan 18, 2017) ICLR 2017 conference submission readers: everyone
  • Abstract: As deep neural networks (DNNs) are applied to increasingly challenging problems, they will need to be able to represent their own uncertainty. Modelling uncertainty is one of the key features of Bayesian methods. Bayesian DNNs that use dropout-based variational distributions and scale to complex tasks have recently been proposed. We evaluate Bayesian DNNs trained with Bernoulli or Gaussian multiplicative masking of either the units (dropout) or the weights (dropconnect). We compare these Bayesian DNNs ability to represent their uncertainty about their outputs through sampling during inference. We tested the calibration of these Bayesian fully connected and convolutional DNNs on two visual inference tasks (MNIST and CIFAR-10). By adding different levels of Gaussian noise to the test images, we assessed how these DNNs represented their uncertainty about regions of input space not covered by the training set. These Bayesian DNNs represented their own uncertainty more accurately than traditional DNNs with a softmax output. We find that sampling of weights, whether Gaussian or Bernoulli, led to more accurate representation of uncertainty compared to sampling of units. However, sampling units using either Gaussian or Bernoulli dropout led to increased convolutional neural network (CNN) classification accuracy. Based on these findings we use both Bernoulli dropout and Gaussian dropconnect concurrently, which approximates the use of a spike-and-slab variational distribution. We find that networks with spike-and-slab sampling combine the advantages of the other methods: they classify with high accuracy and robustly represent the uncertainty of their classifications for all tested architectures.
  • TL;DR: Dropout- and dropconnect-based Bayesian deep neural networks with sampling at inference better represent their own inferential uncertainty than traditional deep neural networks.
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  • Keywords: Deep learning, Theory, Applications