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Variational Inference for Sequential Distance Dependent Chinese Restaurant Process
Authors: Sergey Bartunov and Dmitry Vetrov
Conference: Proceedings of the 31st International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML-14)
Abstract: Recently proposed distance dependent Chinese Restaurant Process (ddCRP) generalizes extensively used Chinese Restaurant Process (CRP) by accounting for dependencies between data points. Its posterior is intractable and so far only MCMC methods were used for inference. Because of very different nature of ddCRP no prior developments in variational methods for Bayesian nonparametrics are appliable. In this paper we propose novel variational inference for important sequential case of ddCRP (seqddCRP) by revealing its connection with Laplacian of random graph constructed by the process. We develop efficient algorithm for optimizing variational lower bound and demonstrate its efficiency comparing to Gibbs sampler. We also apply our variational approximation to CRP-equivalent seqddCRP-mixture model, where it could be considered as alternative to one based on truncated stick-breaking representation. This allowed us to achieve significantly better variational lower bound than variational approximation based on truncated stick breaking for Dirichlet process.
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