Adversarial Variational Inference and Learning in Markov Random Fields

01/24/2019 ∙ by Chongxuan Li, et al. ∙ 18

Markov random fields (MRFs) find applications in a variety of machine learning areas, while the inference and learning of such models are challenging in general. In this paper, we propose the Adversarial Variational Inference and Learning (AVIL) algorithm to solve the problems with a minimal assumption about the model structure of an MRF. AVIL employs two variational distributions to approximately infer the latent variables and estimate the partition function, respectively. The variational distributions, which are parameterized as neural networks, provide an estimate of the negative log likelihood of the MRF. On one hand, the estimate is in an intuitive form of approximate contrastive free energy. On the other hand, the estimate is a minimax optimization problem, which is solved by stochastic gradient descent in an alternating manner. We apply AVIL to various undirected generative models in a fully black-box manner and obtain better results than existing competitors on several real datasets.

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