Sampling-Free Variational Inference of Bayesian Neural Networks by Variance Backpropagation
Proceedings of The 35th Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence Conference, PMLR 115:563-573, 2020.
We propose a new Bayesian Neural Net formulation that affords variational inference for which the evidence lower bound is analytically tractable subject to a tight approximation. We achieve this tractability by (i) decomposing ReLU nonlinearities into the product of an identity and a Heaviside step function, (ii) introducing a separate path that decomposes the neural net expectation from its variance. We demonstrate formally that introducing separate latent binary variables to the activations allows representing the neural network likelihood as a chain of linear operations. Performing variational inference on this construction enables a sampling-free computation of the evidence lower bound which is a more effective approximation than the widely applied Monte Carlo sampling and CLT related techniques. We evaluate the model on a range of regression and classification tasks against BNN inference alternatives, showing competitive or improved performance over the current state-of-the-art.