AMAGOLD: Amortized Metropolis Adjustment for Efficient Stochastic Gradient MCMC


Ruqi Zhang, A. Feder Cooper, Christopher De Sa ;
Proceedings of the Twenty Third International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics, PMLR 108:2142-2152, 2020.


Stochastic gradient Hamiltonian Monte Carlo (SGHMC) is an efficient method for sampling from continuous distributions. It is a faster alternative to HMC: instead of using the whole dataset at each iteration, SGHMC uses only a subsample. This improves performance, but introduces bias that can cause SGHMC to converge to the wrong distribution. One can prevent this using a step size that decays to zero, but such a step size schedule can drastically slow down convergence. To address this tension, we propose a novel second-order SG-MCMC algorithm—AMAGOLD—that infrequently uses Metropolis-Hastings (M-H) corrections to remove bias. The infrequency of corrections amortizes their cost. We prove AMAGOLD converges to the target distribution with a fixed, rather than a diminishing, step size, and that its convergence rate is at most a constant factor slower than a full-batch baseline. We empirically demonstrate AMAGOLD’s effectiveness on synthetic distributions, Bayesian logistic regression, and Bayesian neural networks.

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