How can we perform efficient approximate inference and learning with directed probabilistic models whose continuous latent variables and/or parameters have intractable posterior distributions? The variational Bayesian (VB) approach involves the optimization of an approximation to the intractable posterior. Unfortunately, the common mean-field approach requires analytical solutions of expectations w.r.t. the approximate posterior, which are also intractable in the general case. We show how a reparameterization of the variational lower bound yields a simple differentiable unbiased estimator of the lower bound; this SGVB (Stochastic Gradient Variational Bayes) estimator can be used for efficient approximate posterior inference in almost any model with continuous latent variables and/or parameters, and is straightforward to optimize using standard stochastic gradient ascent techniques. For the case of an i.i.d. dataset and continuous latent variables per datapoint, we propose the Auto- Encoding VB (AEVB) algorithm. In the AEVB algorithm we make inference and learning especially efficient by using the SGVB estimator to optimize a recognition model that allows us to perform very efficient approximate posterior inference using simple ancestral sampling, which in turn allows us to efficiently learn the model parameters, without the need of expensive iterative inference schemes (such as MCMC) per datapoint. The learned approximate posterior inference model can also be used for a host of tasks such as recognition, denoising, representation and visualization purposes. When a neural network is used for the recognition model, we arrive at the variational auto-encoder. … Variational Autoencoder (VAE)

# If you did not already know: “Variational Autoencoder (VAE)”

**12**
*Saturday*
Sep 2015

Posted What is ...

in