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Proper Losses for Discrete Generative Models

Dhamma Kimpara · Rafael Frongillo · Bo Waggoner

Exhibit Hall 1 #531
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We initiate the study of proper losses for evaluating generative models in the discrete setting. Unlike traditional proper losses, we treat both the generative model and the target distribution as black-boxes, only assuming ability to draw i.i.d. samples. We define a loss to be black-box proper if the generative distribution that minimizes expected loss is equal to the target distribution. Using techniques from statistical estimation theory, we give a general construction and characterization of black-box proper losses: they must take a polynomial form, and the number of draws from the model and target distribution must exceed the degree of the polynomial. The characterization rules out a loss whose expectation is the cross-entropy between the target distribution and the model. By extending the construction to arbitrary sampling schemes such as Poisson sampling, however, we show that one can construct such a loss.

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