Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 26 (NIPS 2013)
Reliance on computationally expensive algorithms for inference has been limiting the use of Bayesian nonparametric models in large scale applications. To tackle this problem, we propose a Bayesian learning algorithm for DP mixture models. Instead of following the conventional paradigm -- random initialization plus iterative update, we take an progressive approach. Starting with a given prior, our method recursively transforms it into an approximate posterior through sequential variational approximation. In this process, new components will be incorporated on the fly when needed. The algorithm can reliably estimate a DP mixture model in one pass, making it particularly suited for applications with massive data. Experiments on both synthetic data and real datasets demonstrate remarkable improvement on efficiency -- orders of magnitude speed-up compared to the state-of-the-art.