Iterative Neural Autoregressive Distribution Estimator NADE-k

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 27 (NIPS 2014)

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Tapani Raiko, Yao Li, Kyunghyun Cho, Yoshua Bengio


Training of the neural autoregressive density estimator (NADE) can be viewed as doing one step of probabilistic inference on missing values in data. We propose a new model that extends this inference scheme to multiple steps, arguing that it is easier to learn to improve a reconstruction in $k$ steps rather than to learn to reconstruct in a single inference step. The proposed model is an unsupervised building block for deep learning that combines the desirable properties of NADE and multi-predictive training: (1) Its test likelihood can be computed analytically, (2) it is easy to generate independent samples from it, and (3) it uses an inference engine that is a superset of variational inference for Boltzmann machines. The proposed NADE-k is competitive with the state-of-the-art in density estimation on the two datasets tested.