Existing Bayesian models, especially nonparametric Bayesian methods, rely on specially conceived priors to incorporate domain knowledge for discovering improved latent representations. While priors can affect posterior distributions through Bayes' rule, imposing posterior regularization is arguably more direct and in some cases more natural and general. In this paper, we present regularized Bayesian inference (RegBayes), a novel computational framework that performs posterior inference with a regularization term on the desired post-data posterior distribution under an information theoretical formulation. RegBayes is more flexible than the procedure that elicits expert knowledge via priors, and it covers both directed Bayesian networks and undirected Markov networks whose Bayesian formulation results in hybrid chain graph models. When the regularization is induced from a linear operator on the posterior distributions, such as the expectation operator, we present a general convex-analysis theorem to characterize the solution of RegBayes. Furthermore, we present two concrete examples of RegBayes, infinite latent support vector machines (iLSVM) and multi-task infinite latent support vector machines (MT-iLSVM), which explore the large-margin idea in combination with a nonparametric Bayesian model for discovering predictive latent features for classification and multi-task learning, respectively. We present efficient inference methods and report empirical studies on several benchmark datasets, which appear to demonstrate the merits inherited from both large-margin learning and Bayesian nonparametrics. Such results were not available until now, and contribute to push forward the interface between these two important subfields, which have been largely treated as isolated in the community.
We model messaging activities as a hierarchical doubly stochastic point process with three main levels, and develop an iterative algorithm for inferring actors' relative latent positions from a stream of messaging activity data. Each of the message-exchanging actors is modeled as a process in a latent space. The actors' latent positions are assumed to be influenced by the distribution of a much larger population over the latent space. Each actor's movement in the latent space is modeled as being governed by two parameters that we call confidence and visibility, in addition to dependence on the population distribution. The messaging frequency between a pair of actors is assumed to be inversely proportional to the distance between their latent positions. Our inference algorithm is based on a projection approach to an online filtering problem. The algorithm associates each actor with a probability density-valued process, and each probability density is assumed to be a mixture of basis functions. For efficient numerical experiments, we further develop our algorithm for the case where the basis functions are obtained by translating and scaling a standard Gaussian density.
For weakly-supervised problems with deterministic constraints between the latent variables and observed output, learning necessitates performing inference over latent variables conditioned on the output, which can be intractable no matter how simple the model family is. Even finding a single latent variable setting that satisfies the constraints could be difficult; for instance, the observed output may be the result of a latent database query or graphics program which must be inferred. Here, the difficulty lies in not the model but the supervision, and poor approximations at this stage could lead to following the wrong learning signal entirely. In this paper, we develop a rigorous approach to relaxing the supervision, which yields asymptotically consistent parameter estimates despite altering the supervision. Our approach parameterizes a family of increasingly accurate relaxations, and jointly optimizes both the model and relaxation parameters, while formulating constraints between these parameters to ensure efficient inference.
Estimating causal effects in the presence of latent confounding is a frequently occurring problem in several tasks. In real world applications such as medicine, accounting for the effects of latent confounding is even more challenging as a result of high-dimensional and noisy data. In this work, we propose estimating the causal effect from the perspective of the information bottleneck principle by explicitly identifying a low-dimensional representation of latent confounding. In doing so, we prove theoretically that the proposed model can be used to recover the average causal effect. Experiments on both synthetic data and existing causal benchmarks illustrate that our method achieves state-of-the-art performance in terms of prediction accuracy and sample efficiency, without sacrificing interpretability.
Link prediction is a fundamental task in statistical network analysis. Recent advances have been made on learning flexible nonparametric Bayesian latent feature models for link prediction. In this paper, we present a max-margin learning method for such nonparametric latent feature relational models. Our approach attempts to unite the ideas of max-margin learning and Bayesian nonparametrics to discover discriminative latent features for link prediction. It inherits the advances of nonparametric Bayesian methods to infer the unknown latent social dimension, while for discriminative link prediction, it adopts the max-margin learning principle by minimizing a hinge-loss using the linear expectation operator, without dealing with a highly nonlinear link likelihood function. For posterior inference, we develop an efficient stochastic variational inference algorithm under a truncated mean-field assumption. Our methods can scale up to large-scale real networks with millions of entities and tens of millions of positive links. We also provide a full Bayesian formulation, which can avoid tuning regularization hyper-parameters. Experimental results on a diverse range of real datasets demonstrate the benefits inherited from max-margin learning and Bayesian nonparametric inference.