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Robust Probabilistic Modeling with Bayesian Data Reweighting
Yixin Wang · Alp Kucukelbir · David Blei

Sun Aug 06 05:30 PM -- 05:48 PM (PDT) @ C4.9& C4.10

Probabilistic models analyze data by relying on a set of assumptions. Data that exhibit deviations from these assumptions can undermine inference and prediction quality. Robust models offer protection against mismatch between a model's assumptions and reality. We propose a way to systematically detect and mitigate mismatch of a large class of probabilistic models. The idea is to raise the likelihood of each observation to a weight and then to infer both the latent variables and the weights from data. Inferring the weights allows a model to identify observations that match its assumptions and down-weight others. This enables robust inference and improves predictive accuracy. We study four different forms of mismatch with reality, ranging from missing latent groups to structure misspecification. A Poisson factorization analysis of the Movielens 1M dataset shows the benefits of this approach in a practical scenario.

Author Information

Yixin Wang (Columbia University)
Alp Kucukelbir (Columbia University)
David Blei (Columbia University)

David Blei is a Professor of Statistics and Computer Science at Columbia University, and a member of the Columbia Data Science Institute. His research is in statistical machine learning, involving probabilistic topic models, Bayesian nonparametric methods, and approximate posterior inference algorithms for massive data. He works on a variety of applications, including text, images, music, social networks, user behavior, and scientific data. David has received several awards for his research, including a Sloan Fellowship (2010), Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award (2011), Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (2011), Blavatnik Faculty Award (2013), and ACM-Infosys Foundation Award (2013). He is a fellow of the ACM.

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