Amortized variance reduction for doubly stochastic objective
Proceedings of the 36th Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence (UAI), PMLR 124:61-70, 2020.
Approximate inference in complex probabilistic models such as deep Gaussian processes requires the optimisation of doubly stochastic objective functions. These objectives incorporate randomness both from mini-batch subsampling of the data and from Monte Carlo estimation of expectations. If the gradient variance is high, the stochastic optimisation problem becomes difficult with a slow rate of convergence. Control variates can be used to reduce the variance, but past approaches do not take into account how mini-batch stochasticity affects sampling stochasticity, resulting in sub-optimal variance reduction. We propose a new approach in which we use a recognition network to cheaply approximate the optimal control variate for each mini-batch, with no additional model gradient computations. We illustrate the properties of this proposal and test its performance on logistic regression and deep Gaussian processes.