Model Evidence with Fast Tree Based Quadrature

Published in arXiv, 2020

Recommended citation: Foster, T., Lei, C.L., Robinson, M., et al. (2020). "Model Evidence with Fast Tree Based Quadrature." arXiv.

High dimensional integration is essential to many areas of science, ranging from particle physics to Bayesian inference. Approximating these integrals is hard, due in part to the difficulty of locating and sampling from regions of the integration domain that make significant contributions to the overall integral. Here, we present a new algorithm called Tree Quadrature (TQ) that separates this sampling problem from the problem of using those samples to produce an approximation of the integral. TQ places no qualifications on how the samples provided to it are obtained, allowing it to use state-of-the-art sampling algorithms that are largely ignored by existing integration algorithms. Given a set of samples, TQ constructs a surrogate model of the integrand in the form of a regression tree, with a structure optimised to maximise integral precision. The tree divides the integration domain into smaller containers, which are individually integrated and aggregated to estimate the overall integral. Any method can be used to integrate each individual container, so existing integration methods, like Bayesian Monte Carlo, can be combined with TQ to boost their performance. On a set of benchmark problems, we show that TQ provides accurate approximations to integrals in up to 15 dimensions; and in dimensions 4 and above, it outperforms popular existing approaches.

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