Amortized Population Gibbs Samplers with Neural Sufficient Statistics

Wu, Hao, Zimmermann, Heiko, Sennesh, Eli, Le, Tuan Anh, and Meent, Jan-Willem

*In Proceeding of the International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML)* Jul 2020

Amortized variational methods have proven difficult to scale to structured problems, such as inferring positions of multiple objects from video images. We develop amortized population Gibbs (APG) samplers, a class of scalable methods that frames structured variational inference as adaptive importance sampling. APG samplers construct high-dimensional proposals by iterating over updates to lower-dimensional blocks of variables. We train each conditional proposal by minimizing the inclusive KL divergence with respect to the conditional posterior. To appropriately account for the size of the input data, we develop a new parameterization in terms of neural sufficient statistics. Experiments show that APG samplers can train highly structured deep generative models in an unsupervised manner, and achieve substantial improvements in inference accuracy relative to standard autoencoding variational methods.