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Theoretical Error Analysis of Entropy Approximation for Gaussian Mixture

Takashi FuruyaHiroyuki KusumotoKoichi TaniguchiNaoya KannoKazuma Suetake
Feb 2024
Gaussian mixture distributions are commonly employed to represent general probability distributions. Despite the importance of using Gaussian mixtures for uncertainty estimation, the entropy of a Gaussian mixture cannot be analytically calculated. Notably, Gal and Ghahramani [2016] proposed the approximate entropy that is the sum of the entropies of unimodal Gaussian distributions. This approximation is easy to analytically calculate regardless of dimension, but there lack theoretical guarantees. In this paper, we theoretically analyze the approximation error between the true entropy and the approximate one to reveal when this approximation works effectively. This error is controlled by how far apart each Gaussian component of the Gaussian mixture. To measure such separation, we introduce the ratios of the distances between the means to the sum of the variances of each Gaussian component of the Gaussian mixture, and we reveal that the error converges to zero as the ratios tend to infinity. This convergence situation is more likely to occur in higher dimensional spaces. Therefore, our results provide a guarantee that this approximation works well in higher dimension problems, particularly in scenarios such as neural networks that involve a large number of weights.
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