Masked Completion via Structured Diffusion with White-Box Transformers

Published: 16 Jan 2024, Last Modified: 01 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: masked autoencoding, matrix completion, structured representation learning, white-box transformers
Submission Guidelines: I certify that this submission complies with the submission instructions as described on
TL;DR: We exploit a connection between denoising diffusion models, compression, and masked completion to construct white-box masked autoencoders from first principles.
Abstract: Modern learning frameworks often train deep neural networks with massive amounts of unlabeled data to learn representations by solving simple pretext tasks, then use the representations as foundations for downstream tasks. These networks are empirically designed; as such, they are usually not interpretable, their representations are not structured, and their designs are potentially redundant. White-box deep networks, in which each layer explicitly identifies and transforms structures in the data, present a promising alternative. However, existing white-box architectures have only been shown to work at scale in supervised settings with labeled data, such as classification. In this work, we provide the first instantiation of the white-box design paradigm that can be applied to large-scale unsupervised representation learning. We do this by exploiting a fundamental connection between diffusion, compression, and (masked) completion, deriving a deep transformer-like masked autoencoder architecture, called CRATE-MAE, in which the role of each layer is mathematically fully interpretable: they transform the data distribution to and from a structured representation. Extensive empirical evaluations confirm our analytical insights. CRATE-MAE demonstrates highly promising performance on large-scale imagery datasets while using only ~30% of the parameters compared to the standard masked autoencoder with the same model configuration. The representations learned by CRATE-MAE have explicit structure and also contain semantic meaning.
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: unsupervised, self-supervised, semi-supervised, and supervised representation learning
Submission Number: 2759