Efficient Bayesian Experimental Design for Implicit Models


Steven Kleinegesse, Michael U. Gutmann ;
Proceedings of Machine Learning Research, PMLR 89:476-485, 2019.


Bayesian experimental design involves the optimal allocation of resources in an experiment, with the aim of optimising cost and performance. For implicit models, where the likelihood is intractable but sampling from the model is possible, this task is particularly difficult and therefore largely unexplored. This is mainly due to technical difficulties associated with approximating posterior distributions and utility functions. We devise a novel experimental design framework for implicit models that improves upon previous work in two ways. First, we use the mutual information between parameters and data as the utility function, which has previously not been feasible. We achieve this by utilising Likelihood-Free Inference by Ratio Estimation (LFIRE) to approximate posterior distributions, instead of the traditional approximate Bayesian computation or synthetic likelihood methods. Secondly, we use Bayesian optimisation in order to solve the optimal design problem, as opposed to the typically used grid search or sampling-based methods. We find that this increases efficiency and allows us to consider higher design dimensions.

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