Characterizing and Avoiding Problematic Global Optima of Variational Autoencoders

17 Mar 2020 Yaniv Yacoby Weiwei Pan Finale Doshi-Velez

Variational Auto-encoders (VAEs) are deep generative latent variable models consisting of two components: a generative model that captures a data distribution p(x) by transforming a distribution p(z) over latent space, and an inference model that infers likely latent codes for each data point (Kingma and Welling, 2013). Recent work shows that traditional training methods tend to yield solutions that violate modeling desiderata: (1) the learned generative model captures the observed data distribution but does so while ignoring the latent codes, resulting in codes that do not represent the data (e.g. van den Oord et al. (2017); Kim et al. (2018)); (2) the aggregate of the learned latent codes does not match the prior p(z)... (read more)

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