Universal Boosting Variational Inference

NeurIPS 2019 Trevor CampbellXinglong Li

Boosting variational inference (BVI) approximates an intractable probability density by iteratively building up a mixture of simple component distributions one at a time, using techniques from sparse convex optimization to provide both computational scalability and approximation error guarantees. But the guarantees have strong conditions that do not often hold in practice, resulting in degenerate component optimization problems; and we show that the ad-hoc regularization used to prevent degeneracy in practice can cause BVI to fail in unintuitive ways... (read more)

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