 # Why do we sample a latent variable in guide and model separately?

This might be a trivial thing, but could you please explain why a latent variable should be sampled in the guide and model separately? For example, can’t we use a latent variable we sampled in the guide later in the model?

Here is an example for making my question more concrete. The following code is inspired from SVI Part I: An Introduction to Stochastic Variational Inference in Pyro — Pyro Tutorials 1.8.1 documentation.

``````def model(data):
alpha0 = torch.tensor(15.0)
beta0 = torch.tensor(15.0)
f = pyro.sample("latent_fairness", dist.Beta(alpha0, beta0))
for i in range(len(data)):
pyro.sample("obs_{}".format(i), dist.Bernoulli(f), obs=data[i])

def guide(data):
alpha_q = pyro.param("alpha_q", torch.tensor(15.0),
constraint=constraints.positive)
beta_q = pyro.param("beta_q", torch.tensor(15.0),
constraint=constraints.positive)
pyro.sample("latent_fairness", dist.Beta(alpha_q, beta_q))
``````

What would be the difference if this model/guide pair is implemented the following way instead?

``````def model(data):
for i in range(len(data)):
pyro.sample("obs_{}".format(i), dist.Bernoulli(latent_fairness), obs=data[i])

def guide(data):
alpha_q = pyro.param("alpha_q", torch.tensor(15.0),
constraint=constraints.positive)
beta_q = pyro.param("beta_q", torch.tensor(15.0),
constraint=constraints.positive)
latent_fairness = pyro.sample("latent_fairness", dist.Beta(alpha_q, beta_q))
``````

pyro models/guides are python functions. i don’t really understand your question but

``````def model(data):
for i in range(len(data)):
pyro.sample("obs_{}".format(i), dist.Bernoulli(latent_fairness), obs=data[i])
``````

is not a valid python function since `latent_fairness` is not defined (e.g. via a sample statement)

Thank you for your reply and sorry for the confusing code snippet. Let me rephrase my question and then clarify that part.

In the Pyro tutorials, we see that there are two `pyro.sample` statements for each latent variable, one in the model and one in the guide. The latent variable in this example is `latent_fairness`. I was wondering what would change if we sampled a latent variable only once, e.g. in the guide, and used that sample in the model instead of sampling in the model separately?

`latent_fairness` (the variable) is declared in the function scope in my second example snippet. My intention was to declare it in global scope, assign a value in the guide, and use that assigned value in the model. So, the second snippet should have looked like this (I only added a line to the beginning).

``````latent_fairness = None
def model(data):
for i in range(len(data)):
pyro.sample("obs_{}".format(i), dist.Bernoulli(latent_fairness), obs=data[i])

def guide(data):
alpha_q = pyro.param("alpha_q", torch.tensor(15.0),
constraint=constraints.positive)
beta_q = pyro.param("beta_q", torch.tensor(15.0),
constraint=constraints.positive)
latent_fairness = pyro.sample("latent_fairness", dist.Beta(alpha_q, beta_q))
``````

that wouldn’t work either. pyro “handles” the scope for you by running the guide and then using the sampled values to “replay” the model. both the model and guide must have matching sample statements. the model statements define the model of interest. the guide sample statements define the parametric posterior approximation that is being fit to the posterior defined by the model. this fitting is done using the ELBO which depends on both the model and guide. please refer to the intro and the various svi tutorials for more details