Gershman, Samuel J., Frazier, Peter I., Blei, David M.

Latent feature models are widely used to decompose data into a small number of components. Bayesian nonparametric variants of these models, which use the Indian buffet process (IBP) as a prior over latent features, allow the number of features to be determined from the data. We present a generalization of the IBP, the distance dependent Indian buffet process (dd-IBP), for modeling non-exchangeable data. It relies on distances defined between data points, biasing nearby data to share more features. The choice of distance measure allows for many kinds of dependencies, including temporal and spatial. Further, the original IBP is a special case of the dd-IBP. In this paper, we develop the dd-IBP and theoretically characterize its feature-sharing properties. We derive a Markov chain Monte Carlo sampler for a linear Gaussian model with a dd-IBP prior and study its performance on several non-exchangeable data sets.

Gershman, Samuel J., Blei, David M.

A key problem in statistical modeling is model selection, how to choose a model at an appropriate level of complexity. This problem appears in many settings, most prominently in choosing the number ofclusters in mixture models or the number of factors in factor analysis. In this tutorial we describe Bayesian nonparametric methods, a class of methods that side-steps this issue by allowing the data to determine the complexity of the model. This tutorial is a high-level introduction to Bayesian nonparametric methods and contains several examples of their application.

Zhang, Michael M., Dubey, Avinava, Williamson, Sinead A.

Indian Buffet Process based models are an elegant way for discovering underlying features within a data set, but inference in such models can be slow. Inferring underlying features using Markov chain Monte Carlo either relies on an uncollapsed representation, which leads to poor mixing, or on a collapsed representation, which leads to a quadratic increase in computational complexity. Existing attempts at distributing inference have introduced additional approximation within the inference procedure. In this paper we present a novel algorithm to perform asymptotically exact parallel Markov chain Monte Carlo inference for Indian Buffet Process models. We take advantage of the fact that the features are conditionally independent under the beta-Bernoulli process. Because of this conditional independence, we can partition the features into two parts: one part containing only the finitely many instantiated features and the other part containing the infinite tail of uninstantiated features. For the finite partition, parallel inference is simple given the instantiation of features. But for the infinite tail, performing uncollapsed MCMC leads to poor mixing and hence we collapse out the features. The resulting hybrid sampler, while being parallel, produces samples asymptotically from the true posterior.

Foti, Nicholas J., Williamson, Sinead

Dependent nonparametric processes extend distributions over measures, such as the Dirichlet process and the beta process, to give distributions over collections of measures, typically indexed by values in some covariate space. Such models are appropriate priors when exchangeability assumptions do not hold, and instead we want our model to vary fluidly with some set of covariates. Since the concept of dependent nonparametric processes was formalized by MacEachern [1], there have been a number of models proposed and used in the statistics and machine learning literatures. Many of these models exhibit underlying similarities, an understanding of which, we hope, will help in selecting an appropriate prior, developing new models, and leveraging inference techniques.

Williamson, Sinead, Ghahramani, Zoubin, MacEachern, Steven N., Xing, Eric P.

Distributions over exchangeable matrices with infinitely many columns, such as the Indian buffet process, are useful in constructing nonparametric latent variable models. However, the distribution implied by such models over the number of features exhibited by each data point may be poorly- suited for many modeling tasks. In this paper, we propose a class of exchangeable nonparametric priors obtained by restricting the domain of existing models. Such models allow us to specify the distribution over the number of features per data point, and can achieve better performance on data sets where the number of features is not well-modeled by the original distribution.