Likelihood-free MCMC with Amortized Approximate Likelihood-Ratios

Jul 12, 2020



Posterior inference with an intractable likelihood is becoming an increasingly common task in scientific domains which rely on sophisticated computer simulations. Typically, these forward models do not admit tractable densities forcing practitioners to rely on approximations. This work introduces a novel approach to address the intractability of the likelihood and the marginal model. We achieve this by learning a flexible amortized estimator which approximates the likelihood-to-evidence ratio. We demonstrate that the learned ratio estimator can be embedded in mcmc samplers to approximate likelihood-ratios between consecutive states in the Markov chain, allowing us to draw samples from the intractable posterior. Techniques are presented to improve the numerical stability and to measure the quality of an approximation. The accuracy of our approach is demonstrated on a variety of benchmarks against well-established techniques. Scientific applications in physics show its applicability.



About ICML 2020

The International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) is the premier gathering of professionals dedicated to the advancement of the branch of artificial intelligence known as machine learning. ICML is globally renowned for presenting and publishing cutting-edge research on all aspects of machine learning used in closely related areas like artificial intelligence, statistics and data science, as well as important application areas such as machine vision, computational biology, speech recognition, and robotics. ICML is one of the fastest growing artificial intelligence conferences in the world. Participants at ICML span a wide range of backgrounds, from academic and industrial researchers, to entrepreneurs and engineers, to graduate students and postdocs.

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