Keywords: diffusion model, partial differential equation, inductive bias
TL;DR: We propose a generative model that iteratively reverses the heat equation, increasing the effective resolution of the image
Abstract: While diffusion models have shown great success in image generation, their noise-inverting generative process does not explicitly consider the structure of images, such as their inherent multi-scale nature. Inspired by diffusion models and the empirical success of coarse-to-fine modelling, we propose a new diffusion-like model that generates images through stochastically reversing the heat equation, a PDE that locally erases fine-scale information when run over the 2D plane of the image. We interpret the solution of the forward heat equation with constant additive noise as a variational approximation in the diffusion latent variable model. Our new model shows emergent qualitative properties not seen in standard diffusion models, such as disentanglement of overall colour and shape in images. Spectral analysis on natural images highlights connections to diffusion models and reveals an implicit coarse-to-fine inductive bias in them.
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