Noisy Natural Gradient as Variational Inference

12/06/2017 ∙ by Guodong Zhang, et al. ∙ 0

Combining the flexibility of deep learning with Bayesian uncertainty estimation has long been a goal in our field, and many modern approaches are based on variational Bayes. Unfortunately, one is forced to choose between overly simplistic variational families (e.g. fully factorized) or expensive and complicated inference procedures. We show that natural gradient ascent with adaptive weight noise can be interpreted as fitting a variational posterior to maximize the evidence lower bound (ELBO). This insight allows us to train full covariance, fully factorized, and matrix variate Gaussian variational posteriors using noisy versions of natural gradient, Adam, and K-FAC, respectively. On standard regression benchmarks, our noisy K-FAC algorithm makes better predictions and matches HMC's predictive variances better than existing methods. Its improved uncertainty estimates lead to more efficient exploration in the settings of active learning and intrinsic motivation for reinforcement learning.

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