Bethe Projections for Non-Local Inference

4 Mar 2015  ·  Luke Vilnis, David Belanger, Daniel Sheldon, Andrew McCallum ·

Many inference problems in structured prediction are naturally solved by augmenting a tractable dependency structure with complex, non-local auxiliary objectives. This includes the mean field family of variational inference algorithms, soft- or hard-constrained inference using Lagrangian relaxation or linear programming, collective graphical models, and forms of semi-supervised learning such as posterior regularization. We present a method to discriminatively learn broad families of inference objectives, capturing powerful non-local statistics of the latent variables, while maintaining tractable and provably fast inference using non-Euclidean projected gradient descent with a distance-generating function given by the Bethe entropy. We demonstrate the performance and flexibility of our method by (1) extracting structured citations from research papers by learning soft global constraints, (2) achieving state-of-the-art results on a widely-used handwriting recognition task using a novel learned non-convex inference procedure, and (3) providing a fast and highly scalable algorithm for the challenging problem of inference in a collective graphical model applied to bird migration.

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