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On the Importance of Strong Baselines in Bayesian Deep Learning

Like all sub-fields of machine learning, Bayesian Deep Learning is driven by empirical validation of its theoretical proposals. Given the many aspects of an experiment, it is always possible that minor or even major experimental flaws can slip by both authors and reviewers. One of the most popular experiments used to evaluate approximate inference techniques is the regression experiment on UCI datasets. However, in this experiment, models which have been trained to convergence have often been compared with baselines trained only for a fixed number of iterations. What we find is that if we take a well-established baseline and evaluate it under the same experimental settings, it shows significant improvements in performance. In fact, it outperforms or performs competitively with numerous to several methods that when they were introduced claimed to be superior to the very same baseline method. Hence, by exposing this flaw in experimental procedure, we highlight the importance of using identical experimental setups to evaluate, compare and benchmark methods in Bayesian Deep Learning.

Jishnu Mukhoti, Pontus Stenetorp, Yarin Gal
Workshop on Bayesian Deep Learning, NeurIPS 2018
[Paper] [arXiv] [BibTex]

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