Bayesian Deep Learning — Publications

Improving black-box optimization in VAE latent space using decoder uncertainty

Optimization in the latent space of variational autoencoders is a promising approach to generate high-dimensional discrete objects that maximize an expensive black-box property (e.g., drug-likeness in molecular generation, function approximation with arithmetic expressions). However, existing methods lack robustness as they may decide to explore areas of the latent space for which no data was available during training and where the decoder can be unreliable, leading to the generation of unrealistic or invalid objects. We propose to leverage the epistemic uncertainty of the decoder to guide the optimization process. This is not trivial though, as a naive estimation of uncertainty in the high-dimensional and structured settings we consider would result in high estimator variance. To solve this problem, we introduce an importance sampling-based estimator that provides more robust estimates of epistemic uncertainty. Our uncertainty-guided optimization approach does not require modif... [full abstract]


Pascal Notin, José Miguel Hernández-Lobato, Yarin Gal
Link to this publication

Active Testing: Sample-Efficient Model Evaluation

We introduce active testing: a new framework for sample-efficient model evaluation. While approaches like active learning reduce the number of labels needed for model training, existing literature largely ignores the cost of labeling test data, typically unrealistically assuming large test sets for model evaluation. This creates a disconnect to real applications where test labels are important and just as expensive, e.g. for optimizing hyperparameters. Active testing addresses this by carefully selecting the test points to label, ensuring model evaluation is sample-efficient. To this end, we derive theoretically-grounded and intuitive acquisition strategies that are specifically tailored to the goals of active testing, noting these are distinct to those of active learning. Actively selecting labels introduces a bias; we show how to remove that bias while reducing the variance of the estimator at the same time. Active testing is easy to implement, effective, and can be applied to... [full abstract]


Jannik Kossen, Sebastian Farquhar, Yarin Gal, Tom Rainforth
ICML, 2021
[arXiv]
Link to this publication

Quantifying Ignorance in Individual-Level Causal-Effect Estimates under Hidden Confounding

We study the problem of learning conditional average treatment effects (CATE) from high-dimensional, observational data with unobserved confounders. Unobserved confounders introduce ignorance – a level of unidentifiability – about an individual’s response to treatment by inducing bias in CATE estimates. We present a new parametric interval estimator suited for high-dimensional data, that estimates a range of possible CATE values when given a predefined bound on the level of hidden confounding. Further, previous interval estimators do not account for ignorance about the CATE stemming from samples that may be underrepresented in the original study, or samples that violate the overlap assumption. Our novel interval estimator also incorporates model uncertainty so that practitioners can be made aware of out-of-distribution data. We prove that our estimator converges to tight bounds on CATE when there may be unobserved confounding, and assess it using semi-synthetic, high-dimensional... [full abstract]


Andrew Jesson, Sören Mindermann, Yarin Gal, Uri Shalit
ICML, 2021
[arXiv]
Link to this publication

Deep Adaptive Design: Amortizing Sequential Bayesian Experimental Design

We introduce Deep Adaptive Design (DAD), a general method for amortizing the cost of performing sequential adaptive experiments using the framework of Bayesian optimal experimental design (BOED). Traditional sequential BOED approaches require substantial computational time at each stage of the experiment. This makes them unsuitable for most real-world applications, where decisions must typically be made quickly. DAD addresses this restriction by learning an amortized design network upfront and then using this to rapidly run (multiple) adaptive experiments at deployment time. This network takes as input the data from previous steps, and outputs the next design using a single forward pass; these design decisions can be made in milliseconds during the live experiment. To train the network, we introduce contrastive information bounds that are suitable objectives for the sequential setting, and propose a customized network architecture that exploits key symmetries. We demonstrate tha... [full abstract]


Adam Foster, Desi R. Ivanova, Ilyas Malik, Tom Rainforth
ICML, 2021
[arXiv]
Link to this publication

On Signal-to-Noise Ratio Issues in Variational Inference for Deep Gaussian Processes

We show that the gradient estimates used in training Deep Gaussian Processes (DGPs) with importance-weighted variational inference are susceptible to signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) issues. Specifically, we show both theoretically and empirically that the SNR of the gradient estimates for the latent variable’s variational parameters decreases as the number of importance samples increases. As a result, these gradient estimates degrade to pure noise if the number of importance samples is too large. To address this pathology, we show how doubly-reparameterized gradient estimators, originally proposed for training variational autoencoders, can be adapted to the DGP setting and that the resultant estimators completely remedy the SNR issue, thereby providing more reliable training. Finally, we demonstrate that our fix can lead to improvements in the predictive performance of the model’s predictive posterior.


Tim G. J. Rudner, Oscar Key, Yarin Gal, Tom Rainforth
ICML, 2021
[arXiv] [Code] [BibTex]
Link to this publication

Probabilistic Programs with Stochastic Conditioning

We tackle the problem of conditioning probabilistic programs on distributions of observable variables. Probabilistic programs are usually conditioned on samples from the joint data distribution, which we refer to as deterministic conditioning. However, in many real-life scenarios, the observations are given as marginal distributions, summary statistics, or samplers. Conventional probabilistic programming systems lack adequate means for modeling and inference in such scenarios. We propose a generalization of deterministic conditioning to stochastic conditioning, that is, conditioning on the marginal distribution of a variable taking a particular form. To this end, we first define the formal notion of stochastic conditioning and discuss its key properties. We then show how to perform inference in the presence of stochastic conditioning. We demonstrate potential usage of stochastic conditioning on several case studies which involve various kinds of stochastic conditioning and are d... [full abstract]


David Tolpin, Yuan Zhou, Tom Rainforth, Hongseok Yang
ICML, 2021
[arXiv]
Link to this publication

Outcome-Driven Reinforcement Learning via Variational Inference

While reinforcement learning algorithms provide automated acquisition of optimal policies, practical application of such methods requires a number of design decisions, such as manually designing reward functions that not only define the task, but also provide sufficient shaping to accomplish it. In this paper, we discuss a new perspective on reinforcement learning, recasting it as the problem of inferring actions that achieve desired outcomes, rather than a problem of maximizing rewards. To solve the resulting outcome-directed inference problem, we establish a novel variational inference formulation that allows us to derive a well-shaped reward function which can be learned directly from environment interactions. From the corresponding variational objective, we also derive a new probabilistic Bellman backup operator reminiscent of the standard Bellman backup operator and use it to develop an off-policy algorithm to solve goal-directed tasks. We empirically demonstrate that this ... [full abstract]


Tim G. J. Rudner, Vitchyr H. Pong, Rowan McAllister, Yarin Gal, Sergey Levine

[Preprint] [Website] [BibTex]
Link to this publication

Real2sim: Automatic Generation of Open Street Map Towns For Autonomous Driving Benchmarks

Research in machine learning for autonomous driving (AD) is a constantly evolving field as researchers strive to build a Level 5 autonomous driving system. However, current benchmarks for such learning algorithms do not satisfactorily allow researchers to evaluate and compare performance across safety-critical metrics such as generalizability, out-of-distribution performance, etc. Reasons for this include the expensive nature of data collection from the real-world for autonomous driving and the limitations of software tools currently available for autonomous driving simulators. We develop a pipeline that allows for automatic generation of new town maps for simulator environments from OpenStreetMap [Haklay and Weber, 2008]. We demonstrate that our pipeline is capable of generating towns that, when perceived via LiDAR , share similar footprint to real-world gathered datasets like NuScenes [Caesar et al., 2020]. Additionally, we learn a realistic noise augmentation via Conditional ... [full abstract]


Avishek Mondal, Panagiotis Tigas, Yarin Gal
Machine Learning for Autonomous Driving Workshop at the 34th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS 2020), Vancouver, Canada. [Paper]
Link to this publication

A Bayesian Perspective on Training Speed and Model Selection

We take a Bayesian perspective to illustrate a connection between training speed and the marginal likelihood in linear models. This provides two major insights: first, that a measure of a model’s training speed can be used to estimate its marginal likelihood. Second, that this measure, under certain conditions, predicts the relative weighting of models in linear model combinations trained to minimize a regression loss. We verify our results in model selection tasks for linear models and for the infinite-width limit of deep neural networks. We further provide encouraging empirical evidence that the intuition developed in these settings also holds for deep neural networks trained with stochastic gradient descent. Our results suggest a promising new direction towards explaining why neural networks trained with stochastic gradient descent are biased towards functions that generalize well.


Clare Lyle, Lisa Schut, Binxin (Robin) Ru, Yarin Gal, Mark van der Wilk
NeurIPS, 2020
[Paper] [Code] [BibTex]
Link to this publication

Liberty or Depth: Deep Bayesian Neural Nets Do Not Need Complex Weight Posterior Approximations

We challenge the longstanding assumption that the mean-field approximation for variational inference in Bayesian neural networks is severely restrictive, and show this is not the case in deep networks. We prove several results indicating that deep mean-field variational weight posteriors can induce similar distributions in function-space to those induced by shallower networks with complex weight posteriors. We validate our theoretical contributions empirically, both through examination of the weight posterior using Hamiltonian Monte Carlo in small models and by comparing diagonal- to structured-covariance in large settings. Since complex variational posteriors are often expensive and cumbersome to implement, our results suggest that using mean-field variational inference in a deeper model is both a practical and theoretically justified alternative to structured approximations.


Sebastian Farquhar, Lewis Smith, Yarin Gal
NeurIPS, 2020
[Paper] [arXiv]
Link to this publication

Uncertainty-Aware Counterfactual Explanations for Medical Diagnosis

While deep learning algorithms can excel at predicting outcomes, they often act as black-boxes rendering them uninterpretable for healthcare practitioners. Counterfactual explanations (CEs) are a practical tool for demonstrating why machine learning models make particular decisions. We introduce a novel algorithm that leverages uncertainty to generate trustworthy counterfactual explanations for white-box models. Our proposed method can generate more interpretable CEs than the current benchmark (Van Looveren and Klaise, 2019) for breast cancer diagnosis. Further, our approach provides confidence levels for both the diagnosis as well as the explanation.


Lisa Schut, Oscar Key, Rory McGrath, Luca Costabello, Bogdan Sacaleanu, Medb Corcoran, Yarin Gal
ML4H: Machine Learning for Health Workshop NeurIPS, 2020
[Paper] [BibTex]
Link to this publication

Identifying Causal Effect Inference Failure with Uncertainty-Aware Models

Recommending the best course of action for an individual is a major application of individual-level causal effect estimation. This application is often needed in safety-critical domains such as healthcare, where estimating and communicating uncertainty to decision-makers is crucial. We introduce a practical approach for integrating uncertainty estimation into a class of state-of-the-art neural network methods used for individual-level causal estimates. We show that our methods enable us to deal gracefully with situations of “no-overlap”, common in high-dimensional data, where standard applications of causal effect approaches fail. Further, our methods allow us to handle covariate shift, where test distribution differs to train distribution, common when systems are deployed in practice. We show that when such a covariate shift occurs, correctly modeling uncertainty can keep us from giving overconfident and potentially harmful recommendations. We demonstrate our methodology with a... [full abstract]


Andrew Jesson, Sören Mindermann, Uri Shalit, Yarin Gal
NeurIPS, 2020
[arXiv] [BibTex]
Link to this publication

Principled Uncertainty Estimation for High Dimensional Data

The ability to quantify the uncertainty in the prediction of a Bayesian deep learning model has significant practical implications—from more robust machine-learning based systems to more effective expert-in-the loop processes. While several general measures of model uncertainty exist, they are often intractable in practice when dealing with high dimensional data such as long sequences. Instead, researchers often resort to ad hoc approaches or to introducing independence assumptions to make computation tractable. We introduce a principled approach to estimate uncertainty in high dimensions that circumvents these challenges, and demonstrate its benefits in de novo molecular design.


Pascal Notin, José Miguel Hernández-Lobato, Yarin Gal
Uncertainty & Robustness in Deep Learning Workshop, ICML, 2020
[Paper]
Link to this publication

Uncertainty Estimation Using a Single Deep Deterministic Neural Network

We propose a method for training a deterministic deep model that can find and reject out of distribution data points at test time with a single forward pass. Our approach, deterministic uncertainty quantification (DUQ), builds upon ideas of RBF networks. We scale training in these with a novel loss function and centroid updating scheme and match the accuracy of softmax models. By enforcing detectability of changes in the input using a gradient penalty, we are able to reliably detect out of distribution data. Our uncertainty quantification scales well to large datasets, and using a single model, we improve upon or match Deep Ensembles in out of distribution detection on notable difficult dataset pairs such as FashionMNIST vs. MNIST, and CIFAR-10 vs. SVHN.


Joost van Amersfoort, Lewis Smith, Yee Whye Teh, Yarin Gal
ICML, 2020
[Paper] [BibTex]
Link to this publication

Inter-domain Deep Gaussian Processes

Inter-domain Gaussian processes (GPs) allow for high flexibility and low computational cost when performing approximate inference in GP models. They are particularly suitable for modeling data exhibiting global structure but are limited to stationary covariance functions and thus fail to model non-stationary data effectively. We propose Inter-domain Deep Gaussian Processes, an extension of inter-domain shallow GPs that combines the advantages of inter-domain and deep Gaussian processes (DGPs), and demonstrate how to leverage existing approximate inference methods to perform simple and scalable approximate inference using inter-domain features in DGPs. We assess the performance of our method on a range of regression tasks and demonstrate that it outperforms inter-domain shallow GPs and conventional DGPs on challenging large-scale real-world datasets exhibiting both global structure as well as a high-degree of non-stationarity.


Tim G. J. Rudner, Dino Sejdinovic, Yarin Gal
ICML, 2020
[Paper] [Website] [Talk] [Slides] [BibTex]
Link to this publication

Can Autonomous Vehicles Identify, Recover From, and Adapt to Distribution Shifts?

Out-of-training-distribution (OOD) scenarios are a common challenge of learning agents at deployment, typically leading to arbitrary deductions and poorly-informed decisions. In principle, detection of and adaptation to OOD scenes can mitigate their adverse effects. In this paper, we highlight the limitations of current approaches to novel driving scenes and propose an epistemic uncertainty-aware planning method, called robust imitative planning (RIP). Our method can detect and recover from some distribution shifts, reducing the overconfident and catastrophic extrapolations in OOD scenes. If the model’s uncertainty is too great to suggest a safe course of action, the model can instead query the expert driver for feedback, enabling sample-efficient online adaptation, a variant of our method we term adaptive robust imitative planning (AdaRIP). Our methods outperform current state-of-the-art approaches in the nuScenes prediction challenge, but since no be... [full abstract]


Angelos Filos, Panagiotis Tigas, Rowan McAllister, Nicholas Rhinehart, Sergey Levine, Yarin Gal
ICML, 2020
[Paper] [Code] [Website]
Link to this publication

Uncertainty Evaluation Metric for Brain Tumour Segmentation

In this paper, we develop a metric designed to assess and rank uncertainty measures for the task of brain tumour sub-tissue segmentation in the BraTS 2019 sub-challenge on uncertainty quantification. The metric is designed to: (1) reward uncertainty measures where high confidence is assigned to correct assertions, and where incorrect assertions are assigned low confidence and (2) penalize measures that have higher percentages of under-confident correct assertions. Here, the workings of the components of the metric are explored based on a number of popular uncertainty measures evaluated on the BraTS 2019 dataset.


Raghav Mehta, Angelos Filos, Yarin Gal, Tal Arbel
MIDL, 2020
[Paper]
Link to this publication

Uncertainty Quantification with Statistical Guarantees in End-to-End Autonomous Driving Control

Deep neural network controllers for autonomous driving have recently benefited from significant performance improvements, and have begun deployment in the real world. Prior to their widespread adoption, safety guarantees are needed on the controller behaviour that properly take account of the uncertainty within the model as well as sensor noise. Bayesian neural networks, which assume a prior over the weights, have been shown capable of producing such uncertainty measures, but properties surrounding their safety have not yet been quantified for use in autonomous driving scenarios. In this paper, we develop a framework based on a state-of-the-art simulator for evaluating end-to-end Bayesian controllers. In addition to computing pointwise uncertainty measures that can be computed in real time and with statistical guarantees, we also provide a method for estimating the probability that, given a scenario, the controller keeps the car safe within a finite horizon. We experimentally ev... [full abstract]


Rhiannon Michelmore, Matthew Wicker, Luca Laurenti, Luca Cardelli, Yarin Gal, Marta Kwiatkowska
2020 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)
[arXiv]
Link to this publication

Try Depth Instead of Weight Correlations: Mean-field is a Less Restrictive Assumption for Deeper Networks

We challenge the longstanding assumption that the mean-field approximation for variational inference in Bayesian neural networks is severely restrictive. We argue mathematically that full-covariance approximations only improve the ELBO if they improve the expected log-likelihood. We further show that deeper mean-field networks are able to express predictive distributions approximately equivalent to shallower full-covariance networks. We validate these observations empirically, demonstrating that deeper models decrease the divergence between diagonal- and full-covariance Gaussian fits to the true posterior.


Sebastian Farquhar, Lewis Smith, Yarin Gal
Contributed talk, Workshop on Bayesian Deep Learning, NeurIPS 2019
[Workshop paper], [arXiv]
Link to this publication

Radial Bayesian Neural Networks: Beyond Discrete Support In Large-Scale Bayesian Deep Learning

We propose Radial Bayesian Neural Networks (BNNs): a variational approximate posterior for BNNs which scales well to large models while maintaining a distribution over weight-space with full support. Other scalable Bayesian deep learning methods, like MC dropout or deep ensembles, have discrete support—they assign zero probability to almost all of the weight-space. Unlike these discrete support methods, Radial BNNs’ full support makes them suitable for use as a prior for sequential inference. In addition, they solve the conceptual challenges with the a priori implausibility of weight distributions with discrete support. The Radial BNN is motivated by avoiding a sampling problem in ‘mean-field’ variational inference (MFVI) caused by the so-called ‘soap-bubble’ pathology of multivariate Gaussians. We show that, unlike MFVI, Radial BNNs are robust to hyperparameters and can be efficiently applied to a challenging real-world medical application without needing ad-hoc tweaks and inte... [full abstract]


Sebastian Farquhar, Michael Osborne, Yarin Gal
The 23rd International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics (AISTATS)
[arXiv]
Link to this publication

VariBAD: A Very Good Method for Bayes-Adaptive Deep RL via Meta-Learning

Trading off exploration and exploitation in an unknown environment is key to maximising expected return during learning. A Bayes-optimal policy, which does so optimally, conditions its actions not only on the environment state but on the agent’s uncertainty about the environment. Computing a Bayes-optimal policy is however intractable for all but the smallest tasks. In this paper, we introduce variational Bayes-Adaptive Deep RL (variBAD), a way to meta-learn to perform approximate inference in an unknown environment, and incorporate task uncertainty directly during action selection. In a grid-world domain, we illustrate how variBAD performs structured online exploration as a function of task uncertainty. We also evaluate variBAD on MuJoCo domains widely used in meta-RL and show that it achieves higher return during training than existing methods.


Luisa Zintgraf, Kyriacos Shiarlis, Maximilian Igl, Sebastian Schulze, Yarin Gal, Katja Hofmann, Shimon Whiteson
ICLR, 2020
[OpenReview]
Link to this publication

BayesOpt Adversarial Attack

Black-box adversarial attacks require a large number of attempts before finding successful adversarial examples that are visually indistinguishable from the original input. Current approaches relying on substitute model training, gradient estimation or genetic algorithms often require an excessive number of queries. Therefore, they are not suitable for real-world systems where the maximum query number is limited due to cost. We propose a query-efficient black-box attack which uses Bayesian optimisation in combination with Bayesian model selection to optimise over the adversarial perturbation and the optimal degree of search space dimension reduction. We demonstrate empirically that our method can achieve comparable success rates with 2-5 times fewer queries compared to previous state-of-the-art black-box attacks.


Binxin (Robin) Ru, Adam Cobb, Arno Blaas, Yarin Gal
ICLR, 2020
[OpenReview]
Link to this publication

Wat heb je gezegd? Detecting Out-of-Distribution Translations with Variational Transformers

We use epistemic uncertainty to detect out-of-training-distribution sentences in Neural Machine Translation. For this, we develop a measure of uncertainty designed specifically for long sequences of discrete random variables, corresponding to the words in the output sentence. This measure is able to convey epistemic uncertainty akin to the Mutual Information (MI), which is used in the case of single discrete random variables such as in classification. Our new measure of uncertainty solves a major intractability in the naive application of existing approaches on long sentences. We train a Transformer model with dropout on the task of GermanEnglish translation using WMT 13 and Europarl, and show that using dropout uncertainty our measure is able to identify when Dutch source sentences, sentences which use the same word types as German, are given to the model instead of German.


Tim Xiao, Aidan Gomez, Yarin Gal
Spotlight talk, Workshop on Bayesian Deep Learning, NeurIPS 2019
[Paper]
Link to this publication

Adversarial recovery of agent rewards from latent spaces of the limit order book

Inverse reinforcement learning has proved its ability to explain state-action trajectories of expert agents by recovering their underlying reward functions in increasingly challenging environments. Recent advances in adversarial learning have allowed extending inverse RL to applications with non-stationary environment dynamics unknown to the agents, arbitrary structures of reward functions and improved handling of the ambiguities inherent to the ill-posed nature of inverse RL. This is particularly relevant in real time applications on stochastic environments involving risk, like volatile financial markets. Moreover, recent work on simulation of complex environments enable learning algorithms to engage with real market data through simulations of its latent space representations, avoiding a costly exploration of the original environment. In this paper, we explore whether adversarial inverse RL algorithms can be adapted and trained within such latent space simulations from real ma... [full abstract]


Jacobo Roa Vicens, Yuanbo Wang, Virgile Mison, Yarin Gal, Ricardo Silva
NeurIPS 2019 Workshop on Robust AI in Financial Services: Data, Fairness, Explainability, Trustworthiness, and Privacy
[Paper]
Link to this publication

Robust Imitative Planning: Planning from Demonstrations Under Uncertainty

Learning from expert demonstrations is an attractive framework for sequential decision-making in safety-critical domains such as autonomous driving, where trial and error learning has no safety guarantees during training. However, naïve use of imitation learning can fail by extrapolating incorrectly to unfamiliar situations, resulting in arbitrary model outputs and dangerous outcomes. This is especially true for high capacity parametric models such as deep neural networks, for processing high-dimensional observations from cameras or LIDAR. Instead, we model expert behaviour with a model able to capture uncertainty about previously unseen scenarios, as well as inherent stochasticity in expert demonstrations. We propose a framework for planning under epistemic uncertainty and also provide a practical realisation, called robust imitative planning (RIP), using an ensemble of deep neural density estimators. We demonstrate online robustness to out-of-training distribution scenarios on... [full abstract]


Panagiotis Tigas, Angelos Filos, Rowan McAllister, Nicholas Rhinehart, Sergey Levine, Yarin Gal
NeurIPS2019 Workshop on Machine Learning for Autonomous Driving
[Paper]
Link to this publication

The Natural Neural Tangent Kernel: Neural Network Training Dynamics under Natural Gradient Descent

Gradient-based optimization methods have proven successful in learning complex, overparameterized neural networks from non-convex objectives. Yet, the precise theoretical relationship between gradient-based optimization methods, the induced training dynamics, and generalization in deep neural networks remains unclear. In this work, we investigate the training dynamics of overparameterized neural networks under natural gradient descent. Taking a function-space view of the training dynamics, we give an exact analytic solution to the training dynamics on training points. We derive a bound on the discrepancy between the distributions over functions at the global optimum of natural gradient descent and the analytic solution to the natural gradient descent training dynamics linearized around the parameters at initialization and validate our theoretical results empirically. In particular, we show that the discrepancy between the functions obtained from linearized and non-linearized nat... [full abstract]


Tim G. J. Rudner, Florian Wenzel, Yee Whye Teh, Yarin Gal
Contributed talk, Workshop on Bayesian Deep Learning, NeurIPS 2019
[Paper]
Link to this publication

Improving MFVI in Bayesian Neural Networks with Empirical Bayes: a Study with Diabetic Retinopathy Diagnosis

Specifying meaningful weight priors for variational inference in Bayesian deep neural network (DNN) is a challenging problem, particularly for scaling to larger models involving high dimensional weight space. We evaluate the recently proposed, MOdel Priors with Empirical Bayes using DNN (MOPED) method for Bayesian DNNs within the Bayesian Deep Learning (BDL) benchmarking framework. MOPED enables scalable VI in large models by providing a way to choose informed prior and approximate posterior distributions for Bayesian neural network weights using Empirical Bayes framework. We benchmark MOPED with mean field variational inference on a real-world diabetic retinopathy diagnosis task and compare with state-of-the-art BDL techniques. We demonstrate MOPED method provides reliable uncertainty estimates while outperforming state-of-the-art methods, offering a new strong baseline for the BDL community to compare on complex real-world tasks involving larger models.


Ranganath Krishnan, Mahesh Subedar, Omesh Tickoo, Angelos Filos, Yarin Gal
Workshop on Bayesian Deep Learning, NeurIPS 2019
[Paper]
Link to this publication

Probabilistic Super-Resolution of Solar Magnetograms: Generating Many Explanations and Measuring Uncertainties

Machine learning techniques have been successfully applied to super-resolution tasks on natural images where visually pleasing results are sufficient. However in many scientific domains this is not adequate and estimations of errors and uncertainties are crucial. To address this issue we propose a Bayesian framework that decomposes uncertainties into epistemic and aleatoric uncertainties. We test the validity of our approach by super-resolving images of the Sun’s magnetic field and by generating maps measuring the range of possible high resolution explanations compatible with a given low resolution magnetogram.


Xavier Gitiaux, Shane Maloney, Anna Jungbluth, Carl Shneider, Atılım Güneş Baydin, Paul J. Wright, Yarin Gal, Michel Deudon, Freddie Kalaitzis, Andres Munoz-Jaramillo
Workshop on Bayesian Deep Learning, NeurIPS 2019
[Paper]
Link to this publication

A Systematic Comparison of Bayesian Deep Learning Robustness in Diabetic Retinopathy Tasks

Evaluation of Bayesian deep learning (BDL) methods is challenging. We often seek to evaluate the methods’ robustness and scalability, assessing whether new tools give ‘better’ uncertainty estimates than old ones. These evaluations are paramount for practitioners when choosing BDL tools on-top of which they build their applications. Current popular evaluations of BDL methods, such as the UCI experiments, are lacking: Methods that excel with these experiments often fail when used in application such as medical or automotive, suggesting a pertinent need for new benchmarks in the field. We propose a new BDL benchmark with a diverse set of tasks, inspired by a real-world medical imaging application on diabetic retinopathy diagnosis. Visual inputs (512x512 RGB images of retinas) are considered, where model uncertainty is used for medical pre-screening—i.e. to refer patients to an expert when model diagnosis is uncertain. Methods are then ranked according to metrics derived from expert... [full abstract]


Angelos Filos, Sebastian Farquhar, Aidan Gomez, Tim G. J. Rudner, Zac Kenton, Lewis Smith, Milad Alizadeh, Arnoud de Kroon, Yarin Gal
Preprint, 2019
[Preprint] [BibTex] [Code]
arXiv, 2019
[arXiv]
Spotlight talk, Workshop on Bayesian Deep Learning, NeurIPS 2019
[Paper]
Link to this publication

BatchBALD: Efficient and Diverse Batch Acquisition for Deep Bayesian Active Learning

We develop BatchBALD, a tractable approximation to the mutual information between a batch of points and model parameters, which we use as an acquisition function to select multiple informative points jointly for the task of deep Bayesian active learning. BatchBALD is a greedy linear-time 1−1/e-approximate algorithm amenable to dynamic programming and efficient caching. We compare BatchBALD to the commonly used approach for batch data acquisition and find that the current approach acquires similar and redundant points, sometimes performing worse than randomly acquiring data. We finish by showing that, using BatchBALD to consider dependencies within an acquisition batch, we achieve new state of the art performance on standard benchmarks, providing substantial data efficiency improvements in batch acquisition.


Andreas Kirsch, Joost van Amersfoort, Yarin Gal
NeurIPS, 2019
[arXiv] [BibTex]
Link to this publication

VIREL: A Variational Inference Framework for Reinforcement Learning

Applying probabilistic models to reinforcement learning (RL) enables the application of powerful optimisation tools such as variational inference to RL. However, existing inference frameworks and their algorithms pose significant challenges for learning optimal policies, e.g., the absence of mode capturing behaviour in pseudo-likelihood methods and difficulties learning deterministic policies in maximum entropy RL based approaches. We propose VIREL, a novel, theoretically grounded probabilistic inference framework for RL that utilises a parametrised action-value function to summarise future dynamics of the underlying MDP. This gives VIREL a mode-seeking form of KL divergence, the ability to learn deterministic optimal polices naturally from inference and the ability to optimise value functions and policies in separate, iterative steps. In applying variational expectation-maximisation to VIREL we thus show that the actor-critic algorithm can be reduced to expectation-maximisation... [full abstract]


Matthew Fellows, Anuj Mahajan, Tim G. J. Rudner, Shimon Whiteson
NeurIPS, 2019
NeurIPS 2018 Workshop on Probabilistic Reinforcement Learning and Structured Control
[arXiv] [BibTex]
Link to this publication

Variational Bayesian Optimal Experimental Design

Bayesian optimal experimental design (BOED) is a principled framework for making efficient use of limited experimental resources. Unfortunately, its applicability is hampered by the difficulty of obtaining accurate estimates of the expected information gain (EIG) of an experiment. To address this, we introduce several classes of fast EIG estimators by building on ideas from amortized variational inference. We show theoretically and empirically that these estimators can provide significant gains in speed and accuracy over previous approaches. We further demonstrate the practicality of our approach on a number of end-to-end experiments.


Adam Foster, Martin Jankowiak, Eli Bingham, Paul Horsfall, Yee Whye Teh, Tom Rainforth, Noah Goodman
NeurIPS, 2019
[arXiv]
Link to this publication

Galaxy Zoo: Probabilistic Morphology through Bayesian CNNs and Active Learning

We use Bayesian CNNs and a novel generative model of Galaxy Zoo volunteer responses to infer posteriors for the visual morphology of galaxies. Bayesian CNN can learn from galaxy images with uncertain labels and then, for previously unlabelled galaxies, predict the probability of each possible label. Using our posteriors, we apply the active learning strategy BALD to request volunteer responses for the subset of galaxies which, if labelled, would be most informative for training our network. By combining human and machine intelligence, Galaxy Zoo will be able to classify surveys of any conceivable scale on a timescale of weeks, providing massive and detailed morphology catalogues to support research into galaxy evolution.


Mike Walmsley, Lewis Smith, Chris Lintott, Yarin Gal, Steven Bamford, Hugh Dickinson, Lucy Fortson, Sandor Kruk, Karen Masters, Claudia Scarlata, Brooke Simmons, Rebecca Smethurst, Darryl Wright
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2019
[Paper] [arXiv]
Link to this publication

An Ensemble of Bayesian Neural Networks for Exoplanetary Atmospheric Retrieval

Recent work demonstrated the potential of using machine learning algorithms for atmospheric retrieval by implementing a random forest to perform retrievals in seconds that are consistent with the traditional, computationally-expensive nested-sampling retrieval method. We expand upon their approach by presenting a new machine learning model, exttt{plan-net}, based on an ensemble of Bayesian neural networks that yields more accurate inferences than the random forest for the same data set of synthetic transmission spectra.


Adam D. Cobb, Michael D. Himes, Frank Soboczenski, Simone Zorzan, Molly D. O'Beirne, Atılım Güneş Baydin, Yarin Gal, Shawn D. Domagal-Goldman, Giada N. Arney, Daniel Angerhausen
The Astronomical Journal, 2019
[Paper] [arXiv] [Code]
Link to this publication

Generalizing from a few environments in safety-critical reinforcement learning

Before deploying autonomous agents in the real world, we need to be confident they will perform safely in novel situations. Ideally, we would expose agents to a very wide range of situations during training (e.g. many simulated environments), allowing them to learn about every possible danger. But this is often impractical: simulations may fail to capture the full range of situations and may differ subtly from reality. This paper investigates generalizing from a limited number of training environments in deep reinforcement learning. Our experiments test whether agents can perform safely in novel environments, given varying numbers of environments at train time. Using a gridworld setting, we find that standard deep RL agents do not reliably avoid catastrophes on unseen environments – even after performing near optimally on 1000 training environments. However, we show that catastrophes can be significantly reduced (but not eliminated) with simple modifications, including Q-network... [full abstract]


Zac Kenton, Angelos Filos, Owain Evans, Yarin Gal
ICLR 2019 Workshop on Safe Machine Learning
[paper]
Link to this publication

Bayesian Deep Learning for Exoplanet Atmospheric Retrieval

An ML-based retrieval framework called Intelligent exoplaNet Atmospheric RetrievAl (INARA) that consists of a Bayesian deep learning model for retrieval and a data set of 3,000,000 synthetic rocky exoplanetary spectra generated using the NASA Planetary Spectrum Generator.


Frank Soboczenski, Michael D. Himes, Molly D. O'Beirne, Simone Zorzan, Atılım Güneş Baydin, Adam D. Cobb, Yarin Gal, Daniel Angerhausen, Massimo Mascaro, Giada N. Arney, Shawn D. Domagal-Goldman
Workshop on Bayesian Deep Learning, NeurIPS 2018
[arXiv]
Link to this publication

On the Connection between Neural Processes and Gaussian Processes with Deep Kernels

Neural Processes (NPs) are a class of neural latent variable models that combine desirable properties of Gaussian Processes (GPs) and neural networks. Like GPs, NPs define distributions over functions and are able to estimate the uncertainty in their predictions. Like neural networks, NPs are computationally efficient during training and prediction time. We establish a simple and explicit connection between NPs and GPs. In particular, we show that, under certain conditions, NPs are mathematically equivalent to GPs with deep kernels. This result further elucidates the relationship between GPs and NPs and makes previously derived theoretical insights about GPs applicable to NPs. Furthermore, it suggests a novel approach to learning expressive GP covariance functions applicable across different prediction tasks by training a deep kernel GP on a set of datasets


Tim G. J. Rudner, Vincent Fortuin, Yee Whye Teh, Yarin Gal
Workshop on Bayesian Deep Learning, NeurIPS 2018
[Paper] [BibTex]
Link to this publication

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 us... [full abstract]


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

Evaluating Bayesian Deep Learning Methods for Semantic Segmentation

Deep learning has been revolutionary for computer vision and semantic segmentation in particular, with Bayesian Deep Learning (BDL) used to obtain uncertainty maps from deep models when predicting semantic classes. This information is critical when using semantic segmentation for autonomous driving for example. Standard semantic segmentation systems have well-established evaluation metrics. However, with BDL’s rising popularity in computer vision we require new metrics to evaluate whether a BDL method produces better uncertainty estimates than another method. In this work we propose three such metrics to evaluate BDL models designed specifically for the task of semantic segmentation. We modify DeepLab-v3+, one of the state-of-the-art deep neural networks, and create its Bayesian counterpart using MC dropout and Concrete dropout as inference techniques. We then compare and test these two inference techniques on the well-known Cityscapes dataset using our suggested metrics. Our re... [full abstract]


Jishnu Mukhoti, Yarin Gal
arXiv
[arXiv] [BibTex]
Link to this publication

Evaluating Uncertainty Quantification in End-to-End Autonomous Driving Control

Self-driving has benefited from significant performance improvements with the rise of deep learning, with millions of miles having been driven with no human intervention. Despite this, crashes and erroneous behaviours still occur, in part due to the complexity of verifying the correctness of DNNs and a lack of safety guarantees. In this paper, we demonstrate how quantitative measures of uncertainty can be extracted in real-time, and their quality evaluated in end-to-end controllers for self-driving cars. We propose evaluation techniques for the uncertainty on two separate architectures which use the uncertainty to predict crashes up to five seconds in advance. We find that mutual information, a measure of uncertainty in classification networks, is a promising indicator of forthcoming crashes.


Rhiannon Michelmore, Marta Kwiatkowska, Yarin Gal
In submission
[arXiv] [BibTex]
Link to this publication

A Unifying Bayesian View of Continual Learning

Some machine learning applications require continual learning—where data comes in a sequence of datasets, each is used for training and then permanently discarded. From a Bayesian perspective, continual learning seems straightforward: Given the model posterior one would simply use this as the prior for the next task. However, exact posterior evaluation is intractable with many models, especially with Bayesian neural networks (BNNs). Instead, posterior approximations are often sought. Unfortunately, when posterior approximations are used, prior-focused approaches do not succeed in evaluations designed to capture properties of realistic continual learning use cases. As an alternative to prior-focused methods, we introduce a new approximate Bayesian derivation of the continual learning loss. Our loss does not rely on the posterior from earlier tasks, and instead adapts the model itself by changing the likelihood term. We call these approaches likelihood-focused. We then combine pri... [full abstract]


Sebastian Farquhar, Yarin Gal
NeurIPS 2018 workshop on Bayesian Deep Learning
[Paper] [BibTex]
Link to this publication

Using Bayesian Optimization to Find Asteroids' Pole Directions

Near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) are being discovered much faster than their shapes and other physical properties can be characterized in detail. One of the best ways to spatially resolve NEAs from the ground is with planetary radar observations. Radar echoes can be decoded in round-trip travel time and frequency to produce two-dimensional delay-Doppler images of the asteroid. Given a series of such images acquired over the course of the asteroid’s rotation, one can search for the shape and other physical properties that best match the observations. However, reconstructing asteroid shapes from radar data is, like many inverse problems, a computationally intensive task. Shape modeling also requires extensive human oversight to ensure that the fitting process is finding physically reasonable results. In this paper we use Bayesian optimisation for this difficult task.


Marshall, Sean, Cobb, Adam, Raïssi, Chedy, Yarin Gal, Rozek, Agata, Busch, Michael W., Young, Grace, McGlasson, Riley
American Astronomical Society (AAS), 2018
[Citation] [BibTex]
Link to this publication

BRUNO: A Deep Recurrent Model for Exchangeable Data

We present a novel model architecture which leverages deep learning tools to perform exact Bayesian inference on sets of high dimensional, complex observations. Our model is provably exchangeable, meaning that the joint distribution over observations is invariant under permutation: this property lies at the heart of Bayesian inference. The model does not require variational approximations to train, and new samples can be generated conditional on previous samples, with cost linear in the size of the conditioning set. The advantages of our architecture are demonstrated on learning tasks that require generalisation from short observed sequences while modelling sequence variability, such as conditional image generation, few-shot learning, and anomaly detection.


Iryna Korshunova, Jonas Degrave, Ferenc Huszár, Yarin Gal, Arthur Gretton, Joni Dambre
arXiv, 2018
[arXiv] [BibTex]
NIPS, 2018
[Paper] [BibTex]
Link to this publication

Sufficient Conditions for Idealised Models to Have No Adversarial Examples: a Theoretical and Empirical Study with Bayesian Neural Networks

We prove, under two sufficient conditions, that idealised models can have no adversarial examples. We discuss which idealised models satisfy our conditions, and show that idealised Bayesian neural networks (BNNs) satisfy these. We continue by studying near-idealised BNNs using HMC inference, demonstrating the theoretical ideas in practice. We experiment with HMC on synthetic data derived from MNIST for which we know the ground-truth image density, showing that near-perfect epistemic uncertainty correlates to density under image manifold, and that adversarial images lie off the manifold in our setting. This suggests why MC dropout, which can be seen as performing approximate inference, has been observed to be an effective defence against adversarial examples in practice; We highlight failure-cases of non-idealised BNNs relying on dropout, suggesting a new attack for dropout models and a new defence as well. Lastly, we demonstrate the defence on a cats-vs-dogs image classification... [full abstract]


Lewis Smith, Yarin Gal
arXiv, 2018
[arXiv] [BibTex]
Link to this publication

Fast and Scalable Bayesian Deep Learning by Weight-Perturbation in Adam

Uncertainty computation in deep learning is essential to design robust and reliable systems. Variational inference (VI) is a promising approach for such computation, but requires more effort to implement and execute compared to maximum-likelihood methods. In this paper, we propose new natural-gradient algorithms to reduce such efforts for Gaussian mean-field VI. Our algorithms can be implemented within the Adam optimizer by perturbing the network weights during gradient evaluations, and uncertainty estimates can be cheaply obtained by using the vector that adapts the learning rate. This requires lower memory, computation, and implementation effort than existing VI methods, while obtaining uncertainty estimates of comparable quality. Our empirical results confirm this and further suggest that the weight-perturbation in our algorithm could be useful for exploration in reinforcement learning and stochastic optimization.


Mohammad Emtiyaz Khan, Didrik Nielsen, Voot Tangkaratt, Wu Lin, Yarin Gal, Akash Srivastava
ICML, 2018
[Paper] [arXiv] [BibTex]
Link to this publication

Differentially private continual learning

Catastrophic forgetting can be a significant problem for institutions that must delete historic data for privacy reasons. For example, hospitals might not be able to retain patient data permanently. But neural networks trained on recent data alone will tend to forget lessons learned on old data. We present a differentially private continual learning framework based on variational inference. We estimate the likelihood of past data given the current model using differentially private generative models of old datasets. The differentially private training has no detrimental impact on our architecture’s continual learning performance, and still outperforms the current state-of-the-art non-private continual learning.


Sebastian Farquhar, Yarin Gal
Privacy in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence workshop, ICML, 2018
[Paper] [BibTex]
Link to this publication

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 examp... [full abstract]


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

Towards Robust Evaluations of Continual Learning

Continual learning experiments used in current deep learning papers do not faithfully assess fundamental challenges of learning continually, masking weak-points of the suggested approaches instead. We study gaps in such existing evaluations, proposing essential experimental evaluations that are more representative of continual learning’s challenges, and suggest a re-prioritization of research efforts in the field. We show that current approaches fail with our new evaluations and, to analyse these failures, we propose a variational loss which unifies many existing solutions to continual learning under a Bayesian framing, as either ‘prior-focused’ or ‘likelihood-focused’. We show that while prior-focused approaches such as EWC and VCL perform well on existing evaluations, they perform dramatically worse when compared to likelihood-focused approaches on other simple tasks.


Sebastian Farquhar, Yarin Gal
Lifelong Learning: A Reinforcement Learning Approach workshop, ICML, 2018
[arXiv] [BibTex]
Link to this publication

Understanding Measures of Uncertainty for Adversarial Example Detection

Measuring uncertainty is a promising technique for detecting adversarial examples, crafted inputs on which the model predicts an incorrect class with high confidence. But many measures of uncertainty exist, including predictive entropy and mutual information, each capturing different types of uncertainty. We study these measures, and shed light on why mutual information seems to be effective at the task of adversarial example detection. We highlight failure modes for MC dropout, a widely used approach for estimating uncertainty in deep models. This leads to an improved understanding of the drawbacks of current methods, and a proposal to improve the quality of uncertainty estimates using probabilistic model ensembles. We give illustrative experiments using MNIST to demonstrate the intuition underlying the different measures of uncertainty, as well as experiments on a real world Kaggle dogs vs cats classification dataset.


Lewis Smith, Yarin Gal
UAI, 2018
[Paper] [arXiv] [BibTex]
Link to this publication

Vprop: Variational Inference using RMSprop

Many computationally-efficient methods for Bayesian deep learning rely on continuous optimization algorithms, but the implementation of these methods requires significant changes to existing code-bases. In this paper, we propose Vprop, a method for variational inference that can be implemented with two minor changes to the off-the-shelf RMSprop optimizer. Vprop also reduces the memory requirements of Black-Box Variational Inference by half. We derive Vprop using the conjugate-computation variational inference method, and establish its connections to Newton’s method, natural-gradient methods, and extended Kalman filters. Overall, this paper presents Vprop as a principled, computationally-efficient, and easy-to-implement method for Bayesian deep learning.


Mohammad Emtiyaz Khan, Zuozhu Liu, Voot Tangkaratt, Yarin Gal
Bayesian Deep Learning workshop, NIPS, 2017
[Paper] [arXiv] [BibTex]
Link to this publication

More publications here: publications

Are you looking to do a PhD in machine learning? Did you do a PhD in another field and want to do a postdoc in machine learning? Would you like to visit the group?

How to apply


Contact

We are located at
Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford
Wolfson Building
Parks Road
OXFORD
OX1 3QD
UK
Twitter: @OATML_Oxford
Github: OATML
Email: oatml@cs.ox.ac.uk