How to fit a Keras model to a Gamma Distribution?


I am trying to fit a keras model in which my output variable is always positive. I want to use a gamma distribution to model this problem. The problem is that the loss always ouptputs NAN.

I built the following keras model:

model_max = tf.keras.Sequential([
            tf.keras.layers.Dense(20,input_dim=10, activation="relu"),    
            tfp.layers.DistributionLambda(lambda t:
            tfd.Gamma(concentration = tf.math.softplus(0.005*t[...,:1])+0.001,
             rate = tf.math.softplus(0.005*t[...,1:])+0.001)

Notice that I used softplus because both arguments of the distribution must be positive. Also I added 0.001 to make sure the arguments are always greater than zero.

My loss function is as follows:

def gamma_loss(y_true, my_dist):

    dist_mean = my_dist.mean()
    dist_stddev = my_dist.stddev()
    alpha = (dist_mean / dist_stddev)**2
    beta = dist_mean / dist_stddev**2
    gamma_distr = tfd.Gamma(concentration=alpha, rate=beta)
    return -tf.reduce_mean(gamma_distr.log_prob(y_true))

This function seems to work fine. For example, if I run the following code it runs fine:

import tensorflow as tf
import tensorflow_probability as tfp
tfd = tfp.distributions

def gamma_loss(y_true, my_dist):

    dist_mean = my_dist.mean()
    dist_stddev = my_dist.stddev()
    alpha = (dist_mean / dist_stddev)**2
    beta = dist_mean / dist_stddev**2
    gamma_distr = tfd.Gamma(concentration=alpha, rate=beta)
    return -tf.reduce_mean(gamma_distr.log_prob(y_true)).numpy()

dist = tfd.Gamma(1,1)

gamma_loss(100, dist)

However, if I compile it with the following line:

model_max.compile(optimizer=tf.optimizers.Adam(learning_rate = 0.001),loss=gamma_loss)

The loss always outputs nan

What am I doing wrong? I have tried different froms of the loss funcion but nothing seems to work. I think it is realted to the concentration argument since I already have a similar model to this working with a normal distribution. In that model, I did not use softplus for the mean (loc) because that distribution accepts any positive or negative value. I used the exact structure for the standard deviation as it must also be possitive in the Normal distribution. It works just fine. Why it doesn’t work for the Gamma Distribution?

Thank you in advice to anyone who can help me understand what I’m doing wrong.


I want to share with you all what I did to get my code to work:

  1. I made sure each layer had a kernel_initializer='random_uniform' statement and,
  2. I turned my whole gamma_loss function into: lambda y, p_y: -p_y.log_prob(y)v

I’m not sure if the gamma_loss was the problem, but I found examples of people doing the same thing I was doing and the much simpler lambda y, p_y: -p_y.log_prob(y) function was working fine, so I went with that. I think my main problem was that the weights were not being randomly initialized.

Also, I would like to echo some advice I found online during my search for answers: try fitting one single example and make sure that works well before using the real training data. In my case, I implemented this by taking one single training example and replicating that row thousands of times (creating a dataset in which all the rows are equal) and then training my model with only that. When my model was not being able to fit to that, it was easier to go layer by layer analyzing what the outcome of each layer should be.

The answer given by Brian Patton was really helpful as it did point me in the right direction which is, try to understand what each layer is outputting and testing your assumptions with a simple example.

For future reference, here is what my code now looks like:

model_max = tf.keras.Sequential(
            20, input_dim=10, activation="relu", kernel_initializer="random_uniform"
            15, activation="relu", kernel_initializer="random_uniform"
            10, activation="relu", kernel_initializer="random_uniform"
            5, activation="relu", kernel_initializer="random_uniform"
        tf.keras.layers.Dense(2, kernel_initializer="random_uniform"),
            lambda t: tfd.Gamma(
                concentration=tf.math.softplus(t[:, 0]) + 1e-9,
                rate=tf.math.softplus(t[:, 1]) + 1e-9,

negloglik = lambda y, p_y: -p_y.log_prob(y)

model_max.compile(optimizer=tf.optimizers.Adamax(learning_rate=1e-4), loss=negloglik)

Answered By – amilkar0417

This Answer collected from stackoverflow, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5 , cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

Leave a Reply

(*) Required, Your email will not be published