Provable Compositional Generalization for Object-Centric Learning

Published: 16 Jan 2024, Last Modified: 15 Mar 2024ICLR 2024 oralEveryoneRevisionsBibTeX
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Keywords: compositional generalization, identifiability, object-centric learning, generalization, OOD generalization, unsupervised learning, slot attention, disentanglement, autoencoders, representation learning
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TL;DR: We show theoretical conditions under which compositional generalization is guaranteed for object-centric representation learning.
Abstract: Learning representations that generalize to novel compositions of known concepts is crucial for bridging the gap between human and machine perception. One prominent effort is learning object-centric representations, which are widely conjectured to enable compositional generalization. Yet, it remains unclear when this conjecture will be true, as a principled theoretical or empirical understanding of compositional generalization is lacking. In this work, we investigate when compositional generalization is guaranteed for object-centric representations through the lens of identifiability theory. We show that autoencoders that satisfy structural assumptions on the decoder and enforce encoder-decoder consistency will learn object-centric representations that provably generalize compositionally. We validate our theoretical result and highlight the practical relevance of our assumptions through experiments on synthetic image data.
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Primary Area: unsupervised, self-supervised, semi-supervised, and supervised representation learning
Submission Number: 8400