Bayesian deep neural networks for low-cost neurophysiological markers of Alzheimer's disease severity Machine Learning

As societies around the world are ageing, the number of Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients is rapidly increasing. To date, no low-cost, non-invasive biomarkers have been established to advance the objectivization of AD diagnosis and progression assessment. Here, we utilize Bayesian neural networks to develop a multivariate predictor for AD severity using a wide range of quantitative EEG (QEEG) markers. The Bayesian treatment of neural networks both automatically controls model complexity and provides a predictive distribution over the target function, giving uncertainty bounds for our regression task. It is therefore well suited to clinical neuroscience, where data sets are typically sparse and practitioners require a precise assessment of the predictive uncertainty. We use data of one of the largest prospective AD EEG trials ever conducted to demonstrate the potential of Bayesian deep learning in this domain, while comparing two distinct Bayesian neural network approaches, i.e., Monte Carlo dropout and Hamiltonian Monte Carlo.

Improving Variational Auto-Encoders using Householder Flow Machine Learning

Variational auto-encoders (VAE) are scalable and powerful generative models. However, the choice of the variational posterior determines tractability and flexibility of the VAE. Commonly, latent variables are modeled using the normal distribution with a diagonal covariance matrix. This results in computational efficiency but typically it is not flexible enough to match the true posterior distribution. One fashion of enriching the variational posterior distribution is application of normalizing flows, i.e., a series of invertible transformations to latent variables with a simple posterior. In this paper, we follow this line of thinking and propose a volume-preserving flow that uses a series of Householder transformations. We show empirically on MNIST dataset and histopathology data that the proposed flow allows to obtain more flexible variational posterior and competitive results comparing to other normalizing flows.

Neural Implementation of Hierarchical Bayesian Inference by Importance Sampling

Neural Information Processing Systems

The goal of perception is to infer the hidden states in the hierarchical process by which sensory data are generated. Human behavior is consistent with the optimal statistical solution to this problem in many tasks, including cue combination and orientation detection. Understanding the neural mechanisms underlying this behavior is of particular importance, since probabilistic computations are notoriously challenging. Here we propose a simple mechanism for Bayesian inference which involves averaging over a few feature detection neurons which fire at a rate determined by their similarity to a sensory stimulus. This mechanism is based on a Monte Carlo method known as importance sampling, commonly used in computer science and statistics. Moreover, a simple extension to recursive importance sampling can be used to perform hierarchical Bayesian inference. We identify a scheme for implementing importance sampling with spiking neurons, and show that this scheme can account for human behavior in cue combination and oblique effect.

Bayesian Uncertainty Estimation for Batch Normalized Deep Networks Machine Learning

Deep neural networks have led to a series of breakthroughs, dramatically improving the state-of-the-art in many domains. The techniques driving these advances, however, lack a formal method to account for model uncertainty. While the Bayesian approach to learning provides a solid theoretical framework to handle uncertainty, inference in Bayesian-inspired deep neural networks is difficult. In this paper, we provide a practical approach to Bayesian learning that relies on a regularization technique found in nearly every modern network, \textit{batch normalization}. We show that training a deep network using batch normalization is equivalent to approximate inference in Bayesian models, and we demonstrate how this finding allows us to make useful estimates of the model uncertainty. With our approach, it is possible to make meaningful uncertainty estimates using conventional architectures without modifying the network or the training procedure. Our approach is thoroughly validated in a series of empirical experiments on different tasks and using various measures, outperforming baselines with strong statistical significance and displaying competitive performance with other recent Bayesian approaches.

Synaptic Sampling: A Bayesian Approach to Neural Network Plasticity and Rewiring

Neural Information Processing Systems

We reexamine in this article the conceptual and mathematical framework for understanding the organization of plasticity in spiking neural networks. We propose that inherent stochasticity enables synaptic plasticity to carry out probabilistic inference by sampling from a posterior distribution of synaptic parameters. This view provides a viable alternative to existing models that propose convergence of synaptic weights to maximum likelihood parameters. It explains how priors on weight distributions and connection probabilities can be merged optimally with learned experience. In simulations we show that our model for synaptic plasticity allows spiking neural networks to compensate continuously for unforeseen disturbances. Furthermore it provides a normative mathematical framework to better understand the permanent variability and rewiring observed in brain networks.