Top-k Training of GANs: Improving GAN Performance by Throwing Away Bad Samples

We introduce a simple (one line of code) modification to the Generative Adversarial Network (GAN) training algorithm that materially improves results with no increase in computational cost: When updating the generator parameters, we simply zero out the gradient contributions from the elements of the batch that the critic scores as `least realistic'. Through experiments on many different GAN variants, we show that this `top-k update' procedure is a generally applicable improvement. In order to understand the nature of the improvement, we conduct extensive analysis on a simple mixture-of-Gaussians dataset and discover several interesting phenomena. Among these is that, when gradient updates are computed using the worst-scoring batch elements, samples can actually be pushed further away from their nearest mode. We also apply our method to recent GAN variants and improve state-of-the-art FID for conditional generation from 9.21 to 8.57 on CIFAR-10.

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