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Deep Generative Model 1

Moderator: Jose Miguel Hernandez-Lobato


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Tue 20 July 6:00 - 6:20 PDT

Outstanding Paper Honorable Mention
Oops I Took A Gradient: Scalable Sampling for Discrete Distributions

Will Grathwohl · Kevin Swersky · Milad Hashemi · David Duvenaud · Chris Maddison

We propose a general and scalable approximate sampling strategy for probabilistic models with discrete variables. Our approach uses gradients of the likelihood function with respect to its discrete inputs to propose updates in a Metropolis-Hastings sampler. We show empirically that this approach outperforms generic samplers in a number of difficult settings including Ising models, Potts models, restricted Boltzmann machines, and factorial hidden Markov models. We also demonstrate our improved sampler for training deep energy-based models on high dimensional discrete image data. This approach outperforms variational auto-encoders and existing energy-based models. Finally, we give bounds showing that our approach is near-optimal in the class of samplers which propose local updates.

Tue 20 July 6:20 - 6:25 PDT

Multiscale Invertible Generative Networks for High-Dimensional Bayesian Inference

Shumao Zhang · Pengchuan Zhang · Thomas Hou

We propose a Multiscale Invertible Generative Network (MsIGN) and associated training algorithm that leverages multiscale structure to solve high-dimensional Bayesian inference. To address the curse of dimensionality, MsIGN exploits the low-dimensional nature of the posterior, and generates samples from coarse to fine scale (low to high dimension) by iteratively upsampling and refining samples. MsIGN is trained in a multi-stage manner to minimize the Jeffreys divergence, which avoids mode dropping in high-dimensional cases. On two high-dimensional Bayesian inverse problems, we show superior performance of MsIGN over previous approaches in posterior approximation and multiple mode capture. On the natural image synthesis task, MsIGN achieves superior performance in bits-per-dimension over baseline models and yields great interpret-ability of its neurons in intermediate layers.

Tue 20 July 6:25 - 6:30 PDT

GraphDF: A Discrete Flow Model for Molecular Graph Generation

Youzhi Luo · Keqiang Yan · Shuiwang Ji

We consider the problem of molecular graph generation using deep models. While graphs are discrete, most existing methods use continuous latent variables, resulting in inaccurate modeling of discrete graph structures. In this work, we propose GraphDF, a novel discrete latent variable model for molecular graph generation based on normalizing flow methods. GraphDF uses invertible modulo shift transforms to map discrete latent variables to graph nodes and edges. We show that the use of discrete latent variables reduces computational costs and eliminates the negative effect of dequantization. Comprehensive experimental results show that GraphDF outperforms prior methods on random generation, property optimization, and constrained optimization tasks.

Tue 20 July 6:30 - 6:35 PDT

Hierarchical VAEs Know What They Don’t Know

Jakob D. Havtorn · Jes Frellsen · Søren Hauberg · Lars Maaløe

Deep generative models have been demonstrated as state-of-the-art density estimators. Yet, recent work has found that they often assign a higher likelihood to data from outside the training distribution. This seemingly paradoxical behavior has caused concerns over the quality of the attained density estimates. In the context of hierarchical variational autoencoders, we provide evidence to explain this behavior by out-of-distribution data having in-distribution low-level features. We argue that this is both expected and desirable behavior. With this insight in hand, we develop a fast, scalable and fully unsupervised likelihood-ratio score for OOD detection that requires data to be in-distribution across all feature-levels. We benchmark the method on a vast set of data and model combinations and achieve state-of-the-art results on out-of-distribution detection.

Tue 20 July 6:35 - 6:40 PDT

Order Matters: Probabilistic Modeling of Node Sequence for Graph Generation

Xiaohui Chen · Xu Han · Jiajing Hu · Francisco Ruiz · Liping Liu

A graph generative model defines a distribution over graphs. Typically, the model consists of a sequential process that creates and adds nodes and edges. Such sequential process defines an ordering of the nodes in the graph. The computation of the model's likelihood requires to marginalize the node orderings; this makes maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) challenging due to the (factorial) number of possible permutations. In this work, we provide an expression for the likelihood of a graph generative model and show that its calculation is closely related to the problem of graph automorphism. In addition, we derive a variational inference (VI) algorithm for fitting a graph generative model that is based on the maximization of a variational bound of the log-likelihood. This allows the model to be trained with node orderings from the approximate posterior instead of ad-hoc orderings. Our experiments show that our log-likelihood bound is significantly tighter than the bound of previous schemes. The models fitted with the VI algorithm are able to generate high-quality graphs that match the structures of target graphs not seen during training.

Tue 20 July 6:40 - 6:45 PDT

Generative Video Transformer: Can Objects be the Words?

Yi-Fu Wu · Jaesik Yoon · Sungjin Ahn

Transformers have been successful for many natural language processing tasks. However, applying transformers to the video domain for tasks such as long-term video generation and scene understanding has remained elusive due to the high computational complexity and the lack of natural tokenization. In this paper, we propose the ObjectCentric Video Transformer (OCVT) which utilizes an object-centric approach for decomposing scenes into tokens suitable for use in a generative video transformer. By factoring the video into objects, our fully unsupervised model is able to learn complex spatio-temporal dynamics of multiple interacting objects in a scene and generate future frames of the video. Our model is also significantly more memory-efficient than pixel-based models and thus able to train on videos of length up to 70 frames with a single 48GB GPU. We compare our model with previous RNN-based approaches as well as other possible video transformer baselines. We demonstrate OCVT performs well when compared to baselines in generating future frames. OCVT also develops useful representations for video reasoning, achieving start-of-the-art performance on the CATER task.

Tue 20 July 6:45 - 6:50 PDT

Poisson-Randomised DirBN: Large Mutation is Needed in Dirichlet Belief Networks

Xuhui Fan · Bin Li · Yaqiong Li · Scott SIsson

The Dirichlet Belief Network~(DirBN) was recently proposed as a promising deep generative model to learn interpretable deep latent distributions for objects. However, its current representation capability is limited since its latent distributions across different layers is prone to form similar patterns and can thus hardly use multi-layer structure to form flexible distributions. In this work, we propose Poisson-randomised Dirichlet Belief Networks (Pois-DirBN), which allows large mutations for the latent distributions across layers to enlarge the representation capability. Based on our key idea of inserting Poisson random variables in the layer-wise connection, Pois-DirBN first introduces a component-wise propagation mechanism to enable latent distributions to have large variations across different layers. Then, we develop a layer-wise Gibbs sampling algorithm to infer the latent distributions, leading to a larger number of effective layers compared to DirBN. In addition, we integrate out latent distributions and form a multi-stochastic deep integer network, which provides an alternative view on Pois-DirBN. We apply Pois-DirBN to relational modelling and validate its effectiveness through improved link prediction performance and more interpretable latent distribution visualisations. The code can be downloaded at

Tue 20 July 6:50 - 6:55 PDT