Semi-described and semi-supervised learning with Gaussian processes

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Andreas Damianou, University of Sheffield
Neil D. Lawrence, University of Sheffield
in 31st Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence (UAI)

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Abstract

Propagating input uncertainty through non-linear Gaussian process (GP) mappings is intractable. This hinders the task of training GPs using uncertain and partially observed inputs. In this paper we refer to this task as “semi-described learning”. We then introduce a GP framework that solves both, the semi-described and the semi-supervised learning problems (where missing values occur in the outputs). Auto-regressive state space simulation is also recognised as a special case of semi-described learning. To achieve our goal we develop variational methods for handling semi-described inputs in GPs, and couple them with algorithms that allow for imputing the missing values while treating the uncertainty in a principled, Bayesian manner. Extensive experiments on simulated and real-world data study the problems of iterative forecasting and regression/classification with missing values. The results suggest that the principled propagation of uncertainty stemming from our framework can significantly improve performance in these tasks.