Challenges in Markov chain Monte Carlo for Bayesian neural networks

Theodore Papamarkou (University of Manchester)

Friday 23rd April 15:00-16:00


Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods have not been broadly adopted in Bayesian neural networks (BNNs). This talk initially reviews the main challenges in sampling from the parameter posterior of a neural network via MCMC. Such challenges culminate to lack of convergence to the parameter posterior. Nevertheless, this paper shows that a non-converged Markov chain, generated via MCMC sampling from the parameter space of a neural network, can yield via Bayesian marginalization a valuable predictive posterior of the output of the neural network. Classification examples based on multilayer perceptrons showcase highly accurate predictive posteriors. The postulate of limited scope for MCMC developments in BNNs is partially valid; an asymptotically exact parameter posterior seems less plausible, yet an accurate predictive posterior is a tenable research avenue.
This is joint work with , Jacob Hinkle, M. Todd Young, David Womble.

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