Doubly Semi-Implicit Variational Inference

  1. Photo Dmitry Molchanov Dmitry Molchanov
  2. Photo Valery Kharitonov Valery Kharitonov
  3. Photo Artem Sobolev Artem Sobolev
  4. Photo Dmitry Vetrov Dmitry Vetrov

We extend the existing framework of semi-implicit variational inference (SIVI) and introduce doubly semi-implicit variational inference (DSIVI), a way to perform variational inference and learning when both the approximate posterior and the prior distribution are semi-implicit. In other words, DSIVI performs inference in models where the prior and the posterior can be expressed as an intractable infinite mixture of some analytic density with a highly flexible implicit mixing distribution. We provide a sandwich bound on the evidence lower bound (ELBO) objective that can be made arbitrarily tight. Unlike discriminator-based and kernel-based approaches to implicit variational inference, DSIVI optimizes a proper lower bound on ELBO that is asymptotically exact. We evaluate DSIVI on a set of problems that benefit from implicit priors. In particular, we show that DSIVI gives rise to a simple modification of VampPrior, the current state-of-the-art prior for variational autoencoders, which improves its performance.