Evaluating Lossy Compression Rates of Deep Generative Models

Sicong Huang, Alireza Makhzani, Yanshuai Cao, Roger Grosse,


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The field of deep generative modeling has succeeded in producing astonishingly realistic-seeming images and audio, but quantitative evaluation remains a challenge. Log-likelihood is an appealing metric due to its grounding in statistics and information theory, but it can be challenging to estimate for implicit generative models, and scalar-valued metrics give an incomplete picture of a model's quality. In this work, we propose to use rate distortion (RD) curves to evaluate and compare deep generative models. While estimating RD curves is seemingly even more computationally demanding than log-likelihood estimation, we show that we can approximate the entire RD curve using nearly the same computations as were previously used to achieve a single log-likelihood estimate. We evaluate lossy compression rates of VAEs, GANs, and adversarial autoencoders (AAEs) on the MNIST and CIFAR10 datasets. Measuring the entire RD curve gives a more complete picture than scalar-valued metrics, and we arrive at a number of insights not obtainable from log-likelihoods alone.

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