Plate structure in model v. guide


Hello there!

I am new to Pyro, and I wish to perform variational inference on a Bayesian network. Its nodes are indexed by a time j and a station i. In the code below, BN is the Networkx graph object containing my network. BN also contains the parameters defining the conditional distributions for each node n = (i, j) (they are linear gaussian).

 def BN_model():
    values = {}
    for j in pyro.markov(times):
        for i in pyro.plate("time_{}".format(j), len(stations)):
            n = (i, j)
            parents = list(BN.predecessors(n))
            loc = (
                BN.nodes[n]["mu"] +
                sum(BN.edges[p, n]["weight"] * values[str(p)] for p in parents)
            scale = BN.nodes[n]["sigma"]
            values[str(n)] = pyro.sample(str(n), dist.Normal(loc=loc, scale=scale))
    return values
def BN_guide():
    nodes = list(BN.nodes())
    for k in pyro.plate("nodes", len(nodes)):
        n = nodes[k]
        loc = pyro.param("loc_{}".format(n), torch.tensor(0.))
        scale = pyro.param("scale_{}".format(n), torch.tensor(1.))
        pyro.sample(str(n), dist.Normal(loc=loc, scale=scale))

When using SVI on this, the inference works but I get a warning I do not understand:

UserWarning: Found plate statements in guide but not model: {'nodes'}

It seems this warning is due to the fact that I use different independence structures in my model and guide. However, that is precisely what I want to do:

  • In the model, I want all the variables in a given time to be mutually independent conditionally on the past
  • In the guide, I want all variables in the entire network to be mutually independent, which is why I have a different plate loop.

Did I do something wrong here? Or do I fail to grasp the meaning of the plate?
Thanks in advance for any piece of advice.