Bayesian inference with optimal maps
Author(s)El Moselhy, Tarek A.; Marzouk, Youssef M.
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We present a new approach to Bayesian inference that entirely avoids Markov chain simulation, by constructing a map that pushes forward the prior measure to the posterior measure. Existence and uniqueness of a suitable measure-preserving map is established by formulating the problem in the context of optimal transport theory. We discuss various means of explicitly parameterizing the map and computing it efficiently through solution of an optimization problem, exploiting gradient information from the forward model when possible. The resulting algorithm overcomes many of the computational bottlenecks associated with Markov chain Monte Carlo. Advantages of a map-based representation of the posterior include analytical expressions for posterior moments and the ability to generate arbitrary numbers of independent posterior samples without additional likelihood evaluations or forward solves. The optimization approach also provides clear convergence criteria for posterior approximation and facilitates model selection through automatic evaluation of the marginal likelihood. We demonstrate the accuracy and efficiency of the approach on nonlinear inverse problems of varying dimension, involving the inference of parameters appearing in ordinary and partial differential equations.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Journal of Computational Physics
El Moselhy, Tarek A., and Youssef M. Marzouk. “Bayesian Inference with Optimal Maps.” Journal of Computational Physics 231, no. 23 (October 2012): 7815–7850.
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