Collapsed Inference for Bayesian Deep Learning

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper


Zhe Zeng, Guy Van den Broeck


Bayesian neural networks (BNNs) provide a formalism to quantify and calibrate uncertainty in deep learning. Current inference approaches for BNNs often resort to few-sample estimation for scalability, which can harm predictive performance, while its alternatives tend to be computationally prohibitively expensive. We tackle this challenge by revealing a previously unseen connection between inference on BNNs and volume computation problems. With this observation, we introduce a novel collapsed inference scheme that performs Bayesian model averaging using collapsed samples. It improves over a Monte-Carlo sample by limiting sampling to a subset of the network weights while pairing it with some closed-form conditional distribution over the rest. A collapsed sample represents uncountably many models drawn from the approximate posterior and thus yields higher sample efficiency. Further, we show that the marginalization of a collapsed sample can be solved analytically and efficiently despite the non-linearity of neural networks by leveraging existing volume computation solvers. Our proposed use of collapsed samples achieves a balance between scalability and accuracy. On various regression and classification tasks, our collapsed Bayesian deep learning approach demonstrates significant improvements over existing methods and sets a new state of the art in terms of uncertainty estimation as well as predictive performance.