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Leveraging Nested MLMC for Sequential Neural Posterior Estimation with Intractable Likelihoods

Xiliang YangYifei XiongZhijian He
Jan 2024
Sequential neural posterior estimation (SNPE) techniques have been recently proposed for dealing with simulation-based models with intractable likelihoods. They are devoted to learning the posterior from adaptively proposed simulations using neural network-based conditional density estimators. As a SNPE technique, the automatic posterior transformation (APT) method proposed by Greenberg et al. (2019) performs notably and scales to high dimensional data. However, the APT method bears the computation of an expectation of the logarithm of an intractable normalizing constant, i.e., a nested expectation. Although atomic APT was proposed to solve this by discretizing the normalizing constant, it remains challenging to analyze the convergence of learning. In this paper, we propose a nested APT method to estimate the involved nested expectation instead. This facilitates establishing the convergence analysis. Since the nested estimators for the loss function and its gradient are biased, we make use of unbiased multi-level Monte Carlo (MLMC) estimators for debiasing. To further reduce the excessive variance of the unbiased estimators, this paper also develops some truncated MLMC estimators by taking account of the trade-off between the bias and the average cost. Numerical experiments for approximating complex posteriors with multimodal in moderate dimensions are provided.
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