Bayesian Flow Networks

14 Aug 2023  ·  Alex Graves, Rupesh Kumar Srivastava, Timothy Atkinson, Faustino Gomez ·

This paper introduces Bayesian Flow Networks (BFNs), a new class of generative model in which the parameters of a set of independent distributions are modified with Bayesian inference in the light of noisy data samples, then passed as input to a neural network that outputs a second, interdependent distribution. Starting from a simple prior and iteratively updating the two distributions yields a generative procedure similar to the reverse process of diffusion models; however it is conceptually simpler in that no forward process is required. Discrete and continuous-time loss functions are derived for continuous, discretised and discrete data, along with sample generation procedures. Notably, the network inputs for discrete data lie on the probability simplex, and are therefore natively differentiable, paving the way for gradient-based sample guidance and few-step generation in discrete domains such as language modelling. The loss function directly optimises data compression and places no restrictions on the network architecture. In our experiments BFNs achieve competitive log-likelihoods for image modelling on dynamically binarized MNIST and CIFAR-10, and outperform all known discrete diffusion models on the text8 character-level language modelling task.

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Task Dataset Model Metric Name Metric Value Global Rank Result Benchmark
Image Generation Binarized MNIST BFN nats 77.87 # 3
Image Generation CIFAR-10 BFN bits/dimension 2.66 # 9
Language Modelling Text8 BFN Bit per Character (BPC) 1.41 # 22