Structured Optimal Variational Inference for Dynamic Latent Space Models

29 Sep 2022  ·  Peng Zhao, Anirban Bhattacharya, Debdeep Pati, Bani K. Mallick ·

We consider a latent space model for dynamic networks, where our objective is to estimate the pairwise inner products of the latent positions. To balance posterior inference and computational scalability, we present a structured mean-field variational inference framework, where the time-dependent properties of the dynamic networks are exploited to facilitate computation and inference. Additionally, an easy-to-implement block coordinate ascent algorithm is developed with message-passing type updates in each block, whereas the complexity per iteration is linear with the number of nodes and time points. To facilitate learning of the pairwise latent distances, we adopt a Gamma prior for the transition variance different from the literature. To certify the optimality, we demonstrate that the variational risk of the proposed variational inference approach attains the minimax optimal rate under certain conditions. En route, we derive the minimax lower bound, which might be of independent interest. To best of our knowledge, this is the first such exercise for dynamic latent space models. Simulations and real data analysis demonstrate the efficacy of our methodology and the efficiency of our algorithm. Finally, our proposed methodology can be readily extended to the case where the scales of the latent nodes are learned in a nodewise manner.

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