Liu, Yuhang, Dong, Wenyong, Zhang, Lei, Gong, Dong, Shi, Qinfeng

Variational dropout (VD) is a generalization of Gaussian dropout, which aims at inferring the posterior of network weights based on a log-uniform prior on them to learn these weights as well as dropout rate simultaneously. The log-uniform prior not only interprets the regularization capacity of Gaussian dropout in network training, but also underpins the inference of such posterior. However, the log-uniform prior is an improper prior (i.e., its integral is infinite) which causes the inference of posterior to be ill-posed, thus restricting the regularization performance of VD. To address this problem, we present a new generalization of Gaussian dropout, termed variational Bayesian dropout (VBD), which turns to exploit a hierarchical prior on the network weights and infer a new joint posterior. Specifically, we implement the hierarchical prior as a zero-mean Gaussian distribution with variance sampled from a uniform hyper-prior. Then, we incorporate such a prior into inferring the joint posterior over network weights and the variance in the hierarchical prior, with which both the network training and the dropout rate estimation can be cast into a joint optimization problem. More importantly, the hierarchical prior is a proper prior which enables the inference of posterior to be well-posed. In addition, we further show that the proposed VBD can be seamlessly applied to network compression. Experiments on both classification and network compression tasks demonstrate the superior performance of the proposed VBD in terms of regularizing network training.

Gal, Yarin, Ghahramani, Zoubin

Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) work well on large datasets. But labelled data is hard to collect, and in some applications larger amounts of data are not available. The problem then is how to use CNNs with small data -- as CNNs overfit quickly. We present an efficient Bayesian CNN, offering better robustness to over-fitting on small data than traditional approaches. This is by placing a probability distribution over the CNN's kernels. We approximate our model's intractable posterior with Bernoulli variational distributions, requiring no additional model parameters. On the theoretical side, we cast dropout network training as approximate inference in Bayesian neural networks. This allows us to implement our model using existing tools in deep learning with no increase in time complexity, while highlighting a negative result in the field. We show a considerable improvement in classification accuracy compared to standard techniques and improve on published state-of-the-art results for CIFAR-10.

Conventional neural networks aren't well designed to model the uncertainty associated with the predictions they make. For that, one way is to go full Bayesian. What are we trying to do? The conventional (non-Bayesian) way is to learn only the optimal values via maximum likelihood estimation. On the other hand, a Bayesian approach is interested in the distributions associated with each parameter.

Hron, Jiri, Matthews, Alexander G. de G., Ghahramani, Zoubin

Gaussian multiplicative noise is commonly used as a stochastic regularisation technique in training of deterministic neural networks. A recent paper reinterpreted the technique as a specific algorithm for approximate inference in Bayesian neural networks; several extensions ensued. We show that the log-uniform prior used in all the above publications does not generally induce a proper posterior, and thus Bayesian inference in such models is ill-posed. Independent of the log-uniform prior, the correlated weight noise approximation has further issues leading to either infinite objective or high risk of overfitting. The above implies that the reported sparsity of obtained solutions cannot be explained by Bayesian or the related minimum description length arguments. We thus study the objective from a non-Bayesian perspective, provide its previously unknown analytical form which allows exact gradient evaluation, and show that the later proposed additive reparametrisation introduces minima not present in the original multiplicative parametrisation. Implications and future research directions are discussed.

Kingma, Diederik P., Salimans, Tim, Welling, Max

We investigate a local reparameterizaton technique for greatly reducing the variance of stochastic gradients for variational Bayesian inference (SGVB) of a posterior over model parameters, while retaining parallelizability. This local reparameterization translates uncertainty about global parameters into local noise that is independent across datapoints in the minibatch. Such parameterizations can be trivially parallelized and have variance that is inversely proportional to the minibatch size, generally leading to much faster convergence. Additionally, we explore a connection with dropout: Gaussian dropout objectives correspond to SGVB with local reparameterization, a scale-invariant prior and proportionally fixed posterior variance. Our method allows inference of more flexibly parameterized posteriors; specifically, we propose variational dropout, a generalization of Gaussian dropout where the dropout rates are learned, often leading to better models. The method is demonstrated through several experiments.