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Marginal Tail-Adaptive Normalizing Flows

Mike Laszkiewicz · Johannes Lederer · Asja Fischer

Hall E #312

Keywords: [ T: Probabilistic Methods ] [ DL: Other Representation Learning ] [ DL: Generative Models and Autoencoders ]


Learning the tail behavior of a distribution is a notoriously difficult problem. By definition, the number of samples from the tail is small, and deep generative models, such as normalizing flows, tend to concentrate on learning the body of the distribution. In this paper, we focus on improving the ability of normalizing flows to correctly capture the tail behavior and, thus, form more accurate models. We prove that the marginal tailedness of an autoregressive flow can be controlled viathe tailedness of the marginals of its base distribution. This theoretical insight leads us to a novel type of flows based on flexible base distributions and data-driven linear layers. An empirical analysis shows that the proposed method improveson the accuracy—especially on the tails of the distribution—and is able to generate heavy-tailed data. We demonstrate its application on a weather and climate example, in which capturing the tail behavior is essential.

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