Compiling Universal Probabilistic Programming Languages with Efficient Parallel Sequential Monte Carlo Inference

by   Daniel Lundén, et al.

Probabilistic programming languages (PPLs) allow users to encode arbitrary inference problems, and PPL implementations provide general-purpose automatic inference for these problems. However, constructing inference implementations that are efficient enough is challenging for many real-world problems. Often, this is due to PPLs not fully exploiting available parallelization and optimization opportunities. For example, handling probabilistic checkpoints in PPLs through continuation-passing style transformations or non-preemptive multitasking – as is done in many popular PPLs – often disallows compilation to low-level languages required for high-performance platforms such as GPUs. To solve the checkpoint problem, we introduce the concept of PPL control-flow graphs (PCFGs) – a simple and efficient approach to checkpoints in low-level languages. We use this approach to implement RootPPL: a low-level PPL built on CUDA and C++ with OpenMP, providing highly efficient and massively parallel SMC inference. We also introduce a general method of compiling universal high-level PPLs to PCFGs and illustrate its application when compiling Miking CorePPL – a high-level universal PPL – to RootPPL. The approach is the first to compile a universal PPL to GPUs with SMC inference. We evaluate RootPPL and the CorePPL compiler through a set of real-world experiments in the domains of phylogenetics and epidemiology, demonstrating up to 6x speedups over state-of-the-art PPLs implementing SMC inference.


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