Paper

The likelihood ratio is a crucial quantity for statistical inference in science that enables hypothesis testing, construction of confidence intervals, reweighting of distributions, and more. Many modern scientific applications, however, make use of data- or simulation-driven models for which computing the likelihood ratio can be very difficult or even impossible. By applying the so-called ``likelihood ratio trick,'' approximations of the likelihood ratio may be computed using clever parametrizations of neural network-based classifiers. A number of different neural network setups can be defined to satisfy this procedure, each with varying performance in approximating the likelihood ratio when using finite training data. We present a series of empirical studies detailing the performance of several common loss functionals and parametrizations of the classifier output in approximating the likelihood ratio of two univariate and multivariate Gaussian distributions as well as simulated high-energy particle physics datasets.

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