NeurIPS 2019 A Simple Baseline for Bayesian Uncertainty in Deep Learning

  1. Photo Wesley Maddox Wesley Maddox
  2. Photo Timur Garipov Timur Garipov
  3. Photo Pavel Izmailov Pavel Izmailov
  4. Photo Dmitry Vetrov Dmitry Vetrov
  5. Photo Andrew Gordon Wilson Andrew Gordon Wilson

We propose SWA-Gaussian (SWAG), a simple, scalable, and general purpose approach for uncertainty representation and calibration in deep learning. Stochastic Weight Averaging (SWA), which computes the first moment of stochastic gradient descent (SGD) iterates with a modified learning rate schedule, has recently been shown to improve generalization in deep learning. With SWAG, we fit a Gaussian using the SWA solution as the first moment and a low rank plus diagonal covariance also derived from the SGD iterates, forming an approximate posterior distribution over neural network weights; we then sample from this Gaussian distribution to perform Bayesian model averaging. We empirically find that SWAG approximates the shape of the true posterior, in accordance with results describing the stationary distribution of SGD iterates. Moreover, we demonstrate that SWAG performs well on a wide variety of computer vision tasks, including out of sample detection, calibration, and transfer learning, in comparison to many popular alternatives including MC dropout, KFAC Laplace, and temperature scaling.