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Loss-Calibrated Approximate Inference in Bayesian Neural Networks

Current approaches in approximate inference for Bayesian neural networks minimise the Kullback-Leibler divergence to approximate the true posterior over the weights. However, this approximation is without knowledge of the final application, and therefore cannot guarantee optimal predictions for a given task. To make more suitable task-specific approximations, we introduce a new loss-calibrated evidence lower bound for Bayesian neural networks in the context of supervised learning, informed by Bayesian decision theory. By introducing a lower bound that depends on a utility function, we ensure that our approximation achieves higher utility than traditional methods for applications that have asymmetric utility functions. Furthermore, in using dropout inference, we highlight that our new objective is identical to that of standard dropout neural networks, with an additional utility-dependent penalty term. We demonstrate our new loss-calibrated model with an illustrative medical example and a restricted model capacity experiment, and highlight failure modes of the comparable weighted cross entropy approach. Lastly, we demonstrate the scalability of our method to real world applications with per-pixel semantic segmentation on an autonomous driving data set.

Adam D. Cobb, Stephen J. Roberts, Yarin Gal
Theory of deep learning workshop, ICML, 2018
[arXiv] [Code] [BibTex]

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