Overcoming Mean-Field Approximations in Recurrent Gaussian Process Models

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Overcoming Mean-Field Approximations in Recurrent Gaussian Process Models

June 9 - 15 2019 ICML, Long Beach, USA

Authors: Alessandro Davide Ialongo (University of Cambridge), Mark van der Wilk,
James Hensman and Carl Edward Rasmussen (University of Cambridge)

Abstract: We identify a new variational inference scheme for dynamical systems whose transition function is modelled by a Gaussian process. Inference in this setting has, so far, either employed computationally intensive MCMC methods, or relied on factorisations of the variational posterior. As we demonstrate in our experiments, the factorisation between latent system states and transition function can lead to a miscalibrated posterior and to learning unnecessarily large noise terms. We eliminate this factorisation by explicitly modelling the dependence between the states and the low-rank representation of our Gaussian process posterior. Samples of the latent states can then be tractably generated by conditioning on this representation. The method we obtain gives better predictive performance and more calibrated estimates of the transition function, yet maintains the same time and space complexities as mean-field methods.

Probabilistic Modelling

Variational Inference

Gaussian Processes

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