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Incremental Sampling Without Replacement for Sequence Models

Kensen Shi · David Bieber · Charles Sutton


Keywords: [ Combinatorial Optimization ] [ Generative Models ] [ Structured Prediction ] [ Sequential, Network, and Time-Series Modeling ]


Sampling is a fundamental technique, and sampling without replacement is often desirable when duplicate samples are not beneficial. Within machine learning, sampling is useful for generating diverse outputs from a trained model. We present an elegant procedure for sampling without replacement from a broad class of randomized programs, including generative neural models that construct outputs sequentially. Our procedure is efficient even for exponentially-large output spaces. Unlike prior work, our approach is incremental, i.e., samples can be drawn one at a time, allowing for increased flexibility. We also present a new estimator for computing expectations from samples drawn without replacement. We show that incremental sampling without replacement is applicable to many domains, e.g., program synthesis and combinatorial optimization.

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