Keywords: Independent Component Analysis, Nonlinear ICA, Identifiability
Abstract: Nonlinear ICA is a fundamental problem in machine learning, aiming to identify the underlying independent components (sources) from data which is assumed to be a nonlinear function (mixing function) of these sources. Recent works prove that if the sources have some particular structures (e.g. temporal structure), they are theoretically identifiable even if the mixing function is arbitrary. However, in many cases such restrictions on the sources are difficult to satisfy or even verify, hence it inhibits the applicability of the proposed methods. Different from these works, we propose a general framework for nonlinear ICA, in which the mixing function is assumed to be a volume-preserving transformation, and meanwhile the conditions on the sources can be much looser. We provide an insightful proof of the identifiability of the proposed framework. We implement the framework by volume-preserving Flow-based models, and verify our theory by experiments on artificial data and synthesized images. Moreover, results on real-world images indicate that our framework can disentangle interpretable features.
One-sentence Summary: We propose a general framework for nonlinear ICA, in which the mixing function is restricted to a volume-preserving transformation, and establish two novel identifiability theorems and provide insightful proofs.