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Variational Gaussian Dropout is not Bayesian



Gaussian multiplicative noise is commonly used as a stochastic regularisation technique in training of deterministic neural networks. A recent paper reinterpreted the technique as a specific algorithm for approximate inference in Bayesian neural networks; several extensions ensued. We show that the log-uniform prior used in all the above publications does not generally induce a proper posterior, and thus Bayesian inference in such models is ill-posed. Independent of the log-uniform prior, the correlated weight noise approximation has further issues leading to either infinite objective or high risk of overfitting. The above implies that the reported sparsity of obtained solutions cannot be explained by Bayesian or the related minimum description length arguments. We thus study the objective from a non-Bayesian perspective, provide its previously unknown analytical form which allows exact gradient evaluation, and show that the later proposed additive reparametrisation introduces minima not present in the original multiplicative parametrisation. Implications and future research directions are discussed.


Jiri Hron, Alexander G. de G. Matthews, Zoubin Ghahramani


Bayesian Deep Learning Workshop @ NeurIPS 2017

Full Paper

‘Variational Gaussian Dropout is not Bayesian’ (PDF)

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