A Variational Perspective on Solving Inverse Problems with Diffusion Models

Published: 16 Jan 2024, Last Modified: 15 Apr 2024ICLR 2024 posterEveryoneRevisionsBibTeX
Code Of Ethics: I acknowledge that I and all co-authors of this work have read and commit to adhering to the ICLR Code of Ethics.
Keywords: diffusion models, score matching, variational approximation, regularization by denoising, inverse problems
Submission Guidelines: I certify that this submission complies with the submission instructions as described on https://iclr.cc/Conferences/2024/AuthorGuide.
Abstract: Diffusion models have emerged as a key pillar of foundation models in visual domains. One of their critical applications is to universally solve different downstream inverse tasks via a single diffusion prior without re-training for each task. Most inverse tasks can be formulated as inferring a posterior distribution over data (e.g., a full image) given a measurement (e.g., a masked image). This is however challenging in diffusion models since the nonlinear and iterative nature of the diffusion process renders the posterior intractable. To cope with this challenge, we propose a variational approach that by design seeks to approximate the true posterior distribution. We show that our approach naturally leads to regularization by denoising diffusion process (RED-diff) where denoisers at different timesteps concurrently impose different structural constraints over the image. To gauge the contribution of denoisers from different timesteps, we propose a weighting mechanism based on signal-to-noise-ratio (SNR). Our approach provides a new variational perspective for solving inverse problems with diffusion models, allowing us to formulate sampling as stochastic optimization, where one can simply apply off-the-shelf solvers with lightweight iterates. Our experiments for various linear and nonlinear image restoration tasks demonstrate the strengths of our method compared with state-of-the-art sampling-based diffusion models. The code is available online \footnote{\url{https://github.com/NVlabs/RED-diff}}.
Anonymous Url: I certify that there is no URL (e.g., github page) that could be used to find authors' identity.
No Acknowledgement Section: I certify that there is no acknowledgement section in this submission for double blind review.
Primary Area: generative models
Submission Number: 8090