Markov Chain Importance Sampling - a highly efficient estimator for MCMC

05/18/2018
by   Ingmar Schuster, et al.
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Markov chain algorithms are ubiquitous in machine learning and statistics and many other disciplines. In this work we present a novel estimator applicable to several classes of Markov chains, dubbed Markov chain importance sampling (MCIS). For a broad class of Metropolis-Hastings algorithms, MCIS efficiently makes use of rejected proposals. For discretized Langevin diffusions, it provides a novel way of correcting the discretization error. Our estimator satisfies a central limit theorem and improves on error per CPU cycle, often to a large extent. As a by-product it enables estimating the normalizing constant, an important quantity in Bayesian machine learning and statistics.

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