Improving Gibbs Sampler Scan Quality with DoGS


Ioannis Mitliagkas, Lester Mackey ;
Proceedings of the 34th International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 70:2469-2477, 2017.


The pairwise influence matrix of Dobrushin has long been used as an analytical tool to bound the rate of convergence of Gibbs sampling. In this work, we use Dobrushin influence as the basis of a practical tool to certify and efficiently improve the quality of a Gibbs sampler. Our Dobrushin-optimized Gibbs samplers (DoGS) offer customized variable selection orders for a given sampling budget and variable subset of interest, explicit bounds on total variation distance to stationarity, and certifiable improvements over the standard systematic and uniform random scan Gibbs samplers. In our experiments with image segmentation, Markov chain Monte Carlo maximum likelihood estimation, and Ising model inference, DoGS consistently deliver higher-quality inferences with significantly smaller sampling budgets than standard Gibbs samplers.

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