Preventing Posterior Collapse with delta-VAEs

Sep 27, 2018 ICLR 2019 Conference Blind Submission readers: everyone Show Bibtex
  • Abstract: Due to the phenomenon of “posterior collapse,” current latent variable generative models pose a challenging design choice that either weakens the capacity of the decoder or requires altering the training objective. We develop an alternative that utilizes the most powerful generative models as decoders, optimize the variational lower bound, and ensures that the latent variables preserve and encode useful information. Our proposed δ-VAEs achieve this by constraining the variational family for the posterior to have a minimum distance to the prior. For sequential latent variable models, our approach resembles the classic representation learning approach of slow feature analysis. We demonstrate our method’s efficacy at modeling text on LM1B and modeling images: learning representations, improving sample quality, and achieving state of the art log-likelihood on CIFAR-10 and ImageNet 32 × 32.
  • Keywords: Posterior Collapse, VAE, Autoregressive Models
  • TL;DR: Avoid posterior collapse by lower bounding the rate.
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