The Gaussian process latent variable model (GPLVM) is a popular probabilistic method used for nonlinear dimension reduction, matrix factorization, and state-space modeling. Inference for GPLVMs is computationally tractable only when the data likelihood is Gaussian. Moreover, inference for GPLVMs has typically been restricted to obtaining maximum a posteriori point estimates, which can lead to overfitting, or variational approximations, which mischaracterize the posterior uncertainty. Here, we present a method to perform Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) inference for generalized Bayesian nonlinear latent variable modeling. The crucial insight necessary to generalize GPLVMs to arbitrary observation models is that we approximate the kernel function in the Gaussian process mappings with random Fourier features; this allows us to compute the gradient of the posterior in closed form with respect to the latent variables. We show that we can generalize GPLVMs to non-Gaussian observations, such as Poisson, negative binomial, and multinomial distributions, using our random feature latent variable model (RFLVM). Our generalized RFLVMs perform on par with state-of-the-art latent variable models on a wide range of applications, including motion capture, images, and text data for the purpose of estimating the latent structure and imputing the missing data of these complex data sets.
Online algorithms for detecting changepoints, or abrupt shifts in the behavior of a time series, are often deployed with limited resources, e.g., to edge computing settings such as mobile phones or industrial sensors. In these scenarios it may be beneficial to trade the cost of collecting an environmental measurement against the quality or "fidelity" of this measurement and how the measurement affects changepoint estimation. For instance, one might decide between inertial measurements or GPS to determine changepoints for motion. A Bayesian approach to changepoint detection is particularly appealing because we can represent our posterior uncertainty about changepoints and make active, cost-sensitive decisions about data fidelity to reduce this posterior uncertainty. Moreover, the total cost could be dramatically lowered through active fidelity switching, while remaining robust to changes in data distribution. We propose a multi-fidelity approach that makes cost-sensitive decisions about which data fidelity to collect based on maximizing information gain with respect to changepoints. We evaluate this framework on synthetic, video, and audio data and show that this information-based approach results in accurate predictions while reducing total cost.
Gaussian process-based latent variable models are flexible and theoretically grounded tools for nonlinear dimension reduction, but generalizing to non-Gaussian data likelihoods within this nonlinear framework is statistically challenging. Here, we use random features to develop a family of nonlinear dimension reduction models that are easily extensible to non-Gaussian data likelihoods; we call these random feature latent variable models (RFLVMs). By approximating a nonlinear relationship between the latent space and the observations with a function that is linear with respect to random features, we induce closed-form gradients of the posterior distribution with respect to the latent variable. This allows the RFLVM framework to support computationally tractable nonlinear latent variable models for a variety of data likelihoods in the exponential family without specialized derivations. Our generalized RFLVMs produce results comparable with other state-of-the-art dimension reduction methods on diverse types of data, including neural spike train recordings, images, and text data.