Poisson-Minibatching for Gibbs Sampling with Convergence Rate Guarantees

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 32 (NeurIPS 2019)

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Ruqi Zhang, Christopher M. De Sa


Gibbs sampling is a Markov chain Monte Carlo method that is often used for learning and inference on graphical models. Minibatching, in which a small random subset of the graph is used at each iteration, can help make Gibbs sampling scale to large graphical models by reducing its computational cost. In this paper, we propose a new auxiliary-variable minibatched Gibbs sampling method, {\it Poisson-minibatching Gibbs}, which both produces unbiased samples and has a theoretical guarantee on its convergence rate. In comparison to previous minibatched Gibbs algorithms, Poisson-minibatching Gibbs supports fast sampling from continuous state spaces and avoids the need for a Metropolis-Hastings correction on discrete state spaces. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our method on multiple applications and in comparison with both plain Gibbs and previous minibatched methods.