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Creates a value-setting interceptor.

This function creates an interceptor that sets values of Edward2 random variable objects. This is useful for a range of tasks, including conditioning on observed data, sampling from posterior predictive distributions, and as a building block of inference primitives such as computing log joint probabilities (see examples below).


  • **model_kwargs: dict of str to Tensor. Keys are the names of random variables in the model to which this interceptor is being applied. Values are Tensors to set their value to. Variables not included in this dict will not be set and will maintain their existing value semantics (by default, a sample from the parent-conditional distribution).


  • set_values: function that sets the value of intercepted ops.


Consider for illustration a model with latent z and observed x, and a corresponding trainable posterior model:

num_observations = 10
def model():
  z = ed.Normal(loc=0, scale=1., name='z')  # log rate
  x = ed.Poisson(rate=tf.exp(z) * tf.ones(num_observations), name='x')
  return x

def variational_model():
  return ed.Normal(loc=tf.Variable(0.),
                   name='z')  # for simplicity, match name of the model RV.

We can use a value-setting interceptor to condition the model on observed data. This approach is slightly more cumbersome than that of partially evaluating the complete log-joint function, but has the potential advantage that it returns a new model callable, which may be used to sample downstream variables, passed into additional transformations, etc.

x_observed = np.array([6, 3, 1, 8, 7, 0, 6, 4, 7, 5])
def observed_model():
  with ed.interception(make_value_setter(x=x_observed)):
observed_log_joint_fn = ed.make_log_joint_fn(observed_model)

# After fixing 'x', the observed log joint is now only a function of 'z'.
# This enables us to define a variational lower bound,
# `E_q[ log p(x, z) - log q(z)]`, simply by evaluating the observed and
# variational log joints at variational samples.
variational_log_joint_fn = ed.make_log_joint_fn(variational_model)
with ed.tape() as variational_sample:  # Sample trace from variational model.
elbo_loss = -(observed_log_joint_fn(**variational_sample) -

After performing inference by minimizing the variational loss, a value-setting interceptor enables simulation from the posterior predictive distribution:

with ed.tape() as posterior_samples:  # tape is a map { : rv}
with ed.interception(ed.make_value_setter(**posterior_samples)):
  x = model()
# x is a sample from p(X | Z = z') where z' ~ q(z) (the variational model)

As another example, using a value setter inside of ed.tape enables computing the log joint probability, by setting all variables to posterior values and then accumulating the log probs of those values under the induced parent-conditional distributions. This is one way that we could have implemented ed.make_log_joint_fn:

def make_log_joint_fn_demo(model):
  def log_joint_fn(**model_kwargs):
    with ed.tape() as model_tape:
      with ed.make_value_setter(**model_kwargs):

    # accumulate sum_i log p(X_i = x_i | X_{:i-1} = x_{:i-1})
    log_prob = 0.
    for rv in model_tape.values():
      log_prob += tf.reduce_sum(rv.log_prob(rv.value))

    return log_prob
  return log_joint_fn