Variational Imbalanced Regression: Fair Uncertainty Quantification via Probabilistic Smoothing

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Ziyan Wang, Hao Wang


Existing regression models tend to fall short in both accuracy and uncertainty estimation when the label distribution is imbalanced. In this paper, we propose a probabilistic deep learning model, dubbed variational imbalanced regression (VIR), which not only performs well in imbalanced regression but naturally produces reasonable uncertainty estimation as a byproduct. Different from typical variational autoencoders assuming I.I.D. representations (a data point's representation is not directly affected by other data points), our VIR borrows data with similar regression labels to compute the latent representation's variational distribution; furthermore, different from deterministic regression models producing point estimates, VIR predicts the entire normal-inverse-gamma distributions and modulates the associated conjugate distributions to impose probabilistic reweighting on the imbalanced data, thereby providing better uncertainty estimation. Experiments in several real-world datasets show that our VIR can outperform state-of-the-art imbalanced regression models in terms of both accuracy and uncertainty estimation. Code will soon be available at