Non-parametric Structured Output Networks

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 30 (NIPS 2017)

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Andreas Lehrmann, Leonid Sigal


Deep neural networks (DNNs) and probabilistic graphical models (PGMs) are the two main tools for statistical modeling. While DNNs provide the ability to model rich and complex relationships between input and output variables, PGMs provide the ability to encode dependencies among the output variables themselves. End-to-end training methods for models with structured graphical dependencies on top of neural predictions have recently emerged as a principled way of combining these two paradigms. While these models have proven to be powerful in discriminative settings with discrete outputs, extensions to structured continuous spaces, as well as performing efficient inference in these spaces, are lacking. We propose non-parametric structured output networks (NSON), a modular approach that cleanly separates a non-parametric, structured posterior representation from a discriminative inference scheme but allows joint end-to-end training of both components. Our experiments evaluate the ability of NSONs to capture structured posterior densities (modeling) and to compute complex statistics of those densities (inference). We compare our model to output spaces of varying expressiveness and popular variational and sampling-based inference algorithms.