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SSG Seminar Abstract

A Reinforcement Learning Approach to Variational Inference in Probabilistic Programs

David Wingate

We adopt a dynamical systems perspective on variational inference in deep generative models. This connects variational inference to a temporal credit assignment problem that can be solved using reinforcement learning: policy search methods (such as policy gradients) become a direct search through variational parameters; state-space estimation becomes structured variational inference, and temporal-difference methods suggest novel inference algorithms. I will illustrate the technique on structured models from geological modeling.

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