Entropy-based Training Methods for Scalable Neural Implicit Sampler

by   Weijian Luo, et al.

Efficiently sampling from un-normalized target distributions is a fundamental problem in scientific computing and machine learning. Traditional approaches like Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) guarantee asymptotically unbiased samples from such distributions but suffer from computational inefficiency, particularly when dealing with high-dimensional targets, as they require numerous iterations to generate a batch of samples. In this paper, we propose an efficient and scalable neural implicit sampler that overcomes these limitations. Our sampler can generate large batches of samples with low computational costs by leveraging a neural transformation that directly maps easily sampled latent vectors to target samples without the need for iterative procedures. To train the neural implicit sampler, we introduce two novel methods: the KL training method and the Fisher training method. The former minimizes the Kullback-Leibler divergence, while the latter minimizes the Fisher divergence. By employing these training methods, we effectively optimize the neural implicit sampler to capture the desired target distribution. To demonstrate the effectiveness, efficiency, and scalability of our proposed samplers, we evaluate them on three sampling benchmarks with different scales. These benchmarks include sampling from 2D targets, Bayesian inference, and sampling from high-dimensional energy-based models (EBMs). Notably, in the experiment involving high-dimensional EBMs, our sampler produces samples that are comparable to those generated by MCMC-based methods while being more than 100 times more efficient, showcasing the efficiency of our neural sampler. We believe that the theoretical and empirical contributions presented in this work will stimulate further research on developing efficient samplers for various applications beyond the ones explored in this study.


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