Moderator: Dustin Tran

Tue 20 Jul 6 a.m. PDT — 7 a.m. PDT

Abstract:

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Tue 20 July 6:00 - 6:20 PDT

(Oral)

Pavel Izmailov · Sharad Vikram · Matthew Hoffman · Andrew Wilson

The posterior over Bayesian neural network (BNN) parameters is extremely high-dimensional and non-convex. For computational reasons, researchers approximate this posterior using inexpensive mini-batch methods such as mean-field variational inference or stochastic-gradient Markov chain Monte Carlo (SGMCMC). To investigate foundational questions in Bayesian deep learning, we instead use full batch Hamiltonian Monte Carlo (HMC) on modern architectures. We show that (1) BNNs can achieve significant performance gains over standard training and deep ensembles; (2) a single long HMC chain can provide a comparable representation of the posterior to multiple shorter chains; (3) in contrast to recent studies, we find posterior tempering is not needed for near-optimal performance, with little evidence for a ``cold posterior'' effect, which we show is largely an artifact of data augmentation; (4) BMA performance is robust to the choice of prior scale, and relatively similar for diagonal Gaussian, mixture of Gaussian, and logistic priors; (5) Bayesian neural networks show surprisingly poor generalization under domain shift; (6) while cheaper alternatives such as deep ensembles and SGMCMC can provide good generalization, their predictive distributions are distinct from HMC. Notably, deep ensemble predictive distributions are similarly close to HMC as standard SGLD, and closer than standard variational inference.

Tue 20 July 6:20 - 6:25 PDT

(Spotlight)

Alexander Immer · Matthias Bauer · Vincent Fortuin · Gunnar Ratsch · Khan Emtiyaz

Marginal-likelihood based model-selection, even though promising, is rarely used in deep learning due to estimation difficulties. Instead, most approaches rely on validation data, which may not be readily available. In this work, we present a scalable marginal-likelihood estimation method to select both hyperparameters and network architectures, based on the training data alone. Some hyperparameters can be estimated online during training, simplifying the procedure. Our marginal-likelihood estimate is based on Laplace’s method and Gauss-Newton approximations to the Hessian, and it outperforms cross-validation and manual tuning on standard regression and image classification datasets, especially in terms of calibration and out-of-distribution detection. Our work shows that marginal likelihoods can improve generalization and be useful when validation data is unavailable (e.g., in nonstationary settings).

Tue 20 July 6:25 - 6:30 PDT

(Spotlight)

Aurick Zhou · Sergey Levine

While deep neural networks provide good performance for a range of challenging tasks, calibration and uncertainty estimation remain major challenges, especially under distribution shift. In this paper, we propose the amortized conditional normalized maximum likelihood (ACNML) method as a scalable general-purpose approach for uncertainty estimation, calibration, and out-of-distribution robustness with deep networks. Our algorithm builds on the conditional normalized maximum likelihood (CNML) coding scheme, which has minimax optimal properties according to the minimum description length principle, but is computationally intractable to evaluate exactly for all but the simplest of model classes. We propose to use approximate Bayesian inference technqiues to produce a tractable approximation to the CNML distribution. Our approach can be combined with any approximate inference algorithm that provides tractable posterior densities over model parameters. We demonstrate that ACNML compares favorably to a number of prior techniques for uncertainty estimation in terms of calibration when faced with distribution shift.

Tue 20 July 6:30 - 6:35 PDT

(Spotlight)

Laurence Aitchison · Adam Yang · Sebastian Ober

We define deep kernel processes in which positive definite Gram matrices are progressively transformed by nonlinear kernel functions and by sampling from (inverse) Wishart distributions. Remarkably, we find that deep Gaussian processes (DGPs), Bayesian neural networks (BNNs), infinite BNNs, and infinite BNNs with bottlenecks can all be written as deep kernel processes. For DGPs the equivalence arises because the Gram matrix formed by the inner product of features is Wishart distributed, and as we show, standard isotropic kernels can be written entirely in terms of this Gram matrix --- we do not need knowledge of the underlying features. We define a tractable deep kernel process, the deep inverse Wishart process, and give a doubly-stochastic inducing-point variational inference scheme that operates on the Gram matrices, not on the features, as in DGPs. We show that the deep inverse Wishart process gives superior performance to DGPs and infinite BNNs on fully-connected baselines.

Tue 20 July 6:35 - 6:40 PDT

(Spotlight)

Sebastian Ober · Laurence Aitchison

We consider the optimal approximate posterior over the top-layer weights in a Bayesian neural network for regression, and show that it exhibits strong dependencies on the lower-layer weights. We adapt this result to develop a correlated approximate posterior over the weights at all layers in a Bayesian neural network. We extend this approach to deep Gaussian processes, unifying inference in the two model classes. Our approximate posterior uses learned "global'' inducing points, which are defined only at the input layer and propagated through the network to obtain inducing inputs at subsequent layers. By contrast, standard, "local'', inducing point methods from the deep Gaussian process literature optimise a separate set of inducing inputs at every layer, and thus do not model correlations across layers. Our method gives state-of-the-art performance for a variational Bayesian method, without data augmentation or tempering, on CIFAR-10 of 86.7%, which is comparable to SGMCMC without tempering but with data augmentation (88% in Wenzel et al. 2020).

Tue 20 July 6:40 - 6:45 PDT

(Spotlight)

Erik Daxberger · Eric Nalisnick · James Allingham · Javier Antorán · Jose Miguel Hernandez-Lobato

The Bayesian paradigm has the potential to solve core issues of deep neural networks such as poor calibration and data inefficiency. Alas, scaling Bayesian inference to large weight spaces often requires restrictive approximations. In this work, we show that it suffices to perform inference over a small subset of model weights in order to obtain accurate predictive posteriors. The other weights are kept as point estimates. This subnetwork inference framework enables us to use expressive, otherwise intractable, posterior approximations over such subsets. In particular, we implement subnetwork linearized Laplace as a simple, scalable Bayesian deep learning method: We first obtain a MAP estimate of all weights and then infer a full-covariance Gaussian posterior over a subnetwork using the linearized Laplace approximation. We propose a subnetwork selection strategy that aims to maximally preserve the model’s predictive uncertainty. Empirically, our approach compares favorably to ensembles and less expressive posterior approximations over full networks.

Tue 20 July 6:45 - 6:50 PDT

(Spotlight)

Neale Ratzlaff · Jerry Bai · Fuxin Li · Wei Xu

Recently, particle-based variational inference (ParVI) methods have gained interest because they can avoid arbitrary parametric assumptions that are common in variational inference. However, many ParVI approaches do not allow arbitrary sampling from the posterior, and the few that do allow such sampling suffer from suboptimality. This work proposes a new method for learning to approximately sample from the posterior distribution. We construct a neural sampler that is trained with the functional gradient of the KL-divergence between the empirical sampling distribution and the target distribution, assuming the gradient resides within a reproducing kernel Hilbert space. Our generative ParVI (GPVI) approach maintains the asymptotic performance of ParVI methods while offering the flexibility of a generative sampler. Through carefully constructed experiments, we show that GPVI outperforms previous generative ParVI methods such as amortized SVGD, and is competitive with ParVI as well as gold-standard approaches like Hamiltonian Monte Carlo for fitting both exactly known and intractable target distributions.