A Compact Representation for Bayesian Neural Networks By Removing Permutation Symmetry

Published: 02 Nov 2023, Last Modified: 18 Dec 2023UniReps PosterEveryoneRevisionsBibTeX
Keywords: Permutation Symmetry, Loss Landscape, Approximate Bayesian Inference, Bayesian Neural Networks, BNNs
TL;DR: We proposed a unifying compact representation for Bayesian neural networks (BNNs), bridging the gap between sampling based and parametric based inference, allowing meaningful comparison between BNNs in weight space.
Abstract: Bayesian neural networks (BNNs) are a principled approach to modeling predictive uncertainties in deep learning, which are important in safety-critical applications. Since exact Bayesian inference over the weights in a BNN is intractable, various approximate inference methods exist, among which sampling methods such as Hamiltonian Monte Carlo (HMC) are often considered the gold standard. While HMC provides high-quality samples, it lacks interpretable summary statistics because its sample mean and variance is meaningless in neural networks due to permutation symmetry. In this paper, we first show that the role of permutations can be meaningfully quantified by a number of transpositions metric. We then show that the recently proposed rebasin method allows us to summarize HMC samples into a compact representation that provides a meaningful explicit uncertainty estimate for each weight in a neural network, thus unifying sampling methods with variational inference. We show that this compact representation allows us to compare trained BNNs directly in weight space across sampling methods and variational inference, and to efficiently prune neural networks trained without explicit Bayesian frameworks by exploiting uncertainty estimates from HMC.
Track: Extended Abstract Track
Submission Number: 86