Blaas, Arno, Roberts, Stephen J.

It is desirable, and often a necessity, for machine learning models to be robust against adversarial attacks. This is particularly true for Bayesian models, as they are well-suited for safety-critical applications, in which adversarial attacks can have catastrophic outcomes. In this work, we take a deeper look at the adversarial robustness of Bayesian Neural Networks (BNNs). In particular, we consider whether the adversarial robustness of a BNN can be increased by model choices, particularly the Lipschitz continuity induced by the prior. Conducting in-depth analysis on the case of i.i.d., zero-mean Gaussian priors and posteriors approximated via mean-field variational inference, we find evidence that adversarial robustness is indeed sensitive to the prior variance.

Osborne, Michael, Garnett, Roman, Ghahramani, Zoubin, Duvenaud, David K., Roberts, Stephen J., Rasmussen, Carl E.

Numerical integration is an key component of many problems in scientific computing, statistical modelling, and machine learning. Bayesian Quadrature is a model-based method for numerical integration which, relative to standard Monte Carlo methods, offers increased sample efficiency and a more robust estimate of the uncertainty in the estimated integral. We propose a novel Bayesian Quadrature approach for numerical integration when the integrand is non-negative, such as the case of computing the marginal likelihood, predictive distribution, or normalising constant of a probabilistic model. Our approach approximately marginalises the quadrature model's hyperparameters in closed form, and introduces an active learning scheme to optimally select function evaluations, as opposed to using Monte Carlo samples. We demonstrate our method on both a number of synthetic benchmarks and a real scientific problem from astronomy.

Gunter, Tom, Osborne, Michael A., Garnett, Roman, Hennig, Philipp, Roberts, Stephen J.

We propose a novel sampling framework for inference in probabilistic models: an active learning approach that converges more quickly (in wall-clock time) than Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) benchmarks. The central challenge in probabilistic inference is numerical integration, to average over ensembles of models or unknown (hyper-)parameters (for example to compute marginal likelihood or a partition function). MCMC has provided approaches to numerical integration that deliver state-of-the-art inference, but can suffer from sample inefficiency and poor convergence diagnostics. Bayesian quadrature techniques offer a model-based solution to such problems, but their uptake has been hindered by prohibitive computation costs. We introduce a warped model for probabilistic integrands (likelihoods) that are known to be non-negative, permitting a cheap active learning scheme to optimally select sample locations.

Cobb, Adam D., Baydin, Atılım Güneş, Markham, Andrew, Roberts, Stephen J.

We introduce a recent symplectic integration scheme derived for solving physically motivated systems with non-separable Hamiltonians. We show its relevance to Riemannian manifold Hamiltonian Monte Carlo (RMHMC) and provide an alternative to the currently used generalised leapfrog symplectic integrator, which relies on solving multiple fixed point iterations to convergence. Via this approach, we are able to reduce the number of higher-order derivative calculations per leapfrog step. We explore the implications of this integrator and demonstrate its efficacy in reducing the computational burden of RMHMC. Our code is provided in a new open-source Python package, hamiltorch.

Nyikosa, Favour M., Osborne, Michael A., Roberts, Stephen J.

Financial markets are complex environments that produce enormous amounts of noisy and non-stationary data. One fundamental problem is online portfolio selection, the goal of which is to exploit this data to sequentially select portfolios of assets to achieve positive investment outcomes while managing risks. Various algorithms have been proposed for solving this problem in fields such as finance, statistics and machine learning, among others. Most of the methods have parameters that are estimated from backtests for good performance. Since these algorithms operate on non-stationary data that reflects the complexity of financial markets, we posit that adaptively tuning these parameters in an intelligent manner is a remedy for dealing with this complexity. In this paper, we model the mapping between the parameter space and the space of performance metrics using a Gaussian process prior. We then propose an oracle based on adaptive Bayesian optimization for automatically and adaptively configuring online portfolio selection methods. We test the efficacy of our solution on algorithms operating on equity and index data from various markets.

Simpson, Edwin, Reece, Steven, Roberts, Stephen J.

Unstructured data from diverse sources, such as social media and aerial imagery, can provide valuable up-to-date information for intelligent situation assessment. Mining these different information sources could bring major benefits to applications such as situation awareness in disaster zones and mapping the spread of diseases. Such applications depend on classifying the situation across a region of interest, which can be depicted as a spatial "heatmap". Annotating unstructured data using crowdsourcing or automated classifiers produces individual classifications at sparse locations that typically contain many errors. We propose a novel Bayesian approach that models the relevance, error rates and bias of each information source, enabling us to learn a spatial Gaussian Process classifier by aggregating data from multiple sources with varying reliability and relevance. Our method does not require gold-labelled data and can make predictions at any location in an area of interest given only sparse observations. We show empirically that our approach can handle noisy and biased data sources, and that simultaneously inferring reliability and transferring information between neighbouring reports leads to more accurate predictions. We demonstrate our method on two real-world problems from disaster response, showing how our approach reduces the amount of crowdsourced data required and can be used to generate valuable heatmap visualisations from SMS messages and satellite images.

Alvi, Ahsan S., Ru, Binxin, Calliess, Jan, Roberts, Stephen J., Osborne, Michael A.

Batch Bayesian optimisation (BO) has been successfully applied to hyperparameter tuning using parallel computing, but it is wasteful of resources: workers that complete jobs ahead of others are left idle. We address this problem by developing an approach, Penalising Locally for Asynchronous Bayesian Optimisation on $k$ workers (PLAyBOOK), for asynchronous parallel BO. We demonstrate empirically the efficacy of PLAyBOOK and its variants on synthetic tasks and a real-world problem. We undertake a comparison between synchronous and asynchronous BO, and show that asynchronous BO often outperforms synchronous batch BO in both wall-clock time and number of function evaluations.

Cobb, Adam D., Everett, Richard, Markham, Andrew, Roberts, Stephen J.

In systems of multiple agents, identifying the cause of observed agent dynamics is challenging. Often, these agents operate in diverse, non-stationary environments, where models rely on hand-crafted environment-specific features to infer influential regions in the system's surroundings. To overcome the limitations of these inflexible models, we present GP-LAPLACE, a technique for locating sources and sinks from trajectories in time-varying fields. Using Gaussian processes, we jointly infer a spatio-temporal vector field, as well as canonical vector calculus operations on that field. Notably, we do this from only agent trajectories without requiring knowledge of the environment, and also obtain a metric for denoting the significance of inferred causal features in the environment by exploiting our probabilistic method. To evaluate our approach, we apply it to both synthetic and real-world GPS data, demonstrating the applicability of our technique in the presence of multiple agents, as well as its superiority over existing methods.

Papadopoulos, Timos, Roberts, Stephen J., Willis, Katherine J.

We evaluated the effectiveness of an automated bird sound identification system in a situation that emulates a realistic, typical application. We trained classification algorithms on a crowd-sourced collection of bird audio recording data and restricted our training methods to be completely free of manual intervention. The approach is hence directly applicable to the analysis of multiple species collections, with labelling provided by crowd-sourced collection. We evaluated the performance of the bird sound recognition system on a realistic number of candidate classes, corresponding to real conditions. We investigated the use of two canonical classification methods, chosen due to their widespread use and ease of interpretation, namely a k Nearest Neighbour (kNN) classifier with histogram-based features and a Support Vector Machine (SVM) with time-summarisation features. We further investigated the use of a certainty measure, derived from the output probabilities of the classifiers, to enhance the interpretability and reliability of the class decisions. Our results demonstrate that both identification methods achieved similar performance, but we argue that the use of the kNN classifier offers somewhat more flexibility. Furthermore, we show that employing an outcome certainty measure provides a valuable and consistent indicator of the reliability of classification results. Our use of generic training data and our investigation of probabilistic classification methodologies that can flexibly address the variable number of candidate species/classes that are expected to be encountered in the field, directly contribute to the development of a practical bird sound identification system with potentially global application. Further, we show that certainty measures associated with identification outcomes can significantly contribute to the practical usability of the overall system.

McLeod, Mark, Osborne, Michael A., Roberts, Stephen J.

We develop the first Bayesian Optimization algorithm, BLOSSOM, which selects between multiple alternative acquisition functions and traditional local optimization at each step. This is combined with a novel stopping condition based on expected regret. This pairing allows us to obtain the best characteristics of both local and Bayesian optimization, making efficient use of function evaluations while yielding superior convergence to the global minimum on a selection of optimization problems, and also halting optimization once a principled and intuitive stopping condition has been fulfilled.