Non-Synergistic Variational Autoencoders

Sep 27, 2018 ICLR 2019 Conference Blind Submission readers: everyone Show Bibtex
  • Abstract: Learning disentangling representations of the independent factors of variations that explain the data in an unsupervised setting is still a major challenge. In the following paper we address the task of disentanglement and introduce a new state-of-the-art approach called Non-synergistic variational Autoencoder (Non-Syn VAE). Our model draws inspiration from population coding, where the notion of synergy arises when we describe the encoded information by neurons in the form of responses from the stimuli. If those responses convey more information together than separate as independent sources of encoding information, they are acting synergetically. By penalizing the synergistic mutual information within the latents we encourage information independence and by doing that disentangle the latent factors. Notably, our approach could be added to the VAE framework easily, where the new ELBO function is still a lower bound on the log likelihood. In addition, we qualitatively compare our model with Factor VAE and show that this one implicitly minimises the synergy of the latents.
  • Keywords: vae, unsupervised learning
  • TL;DR: Minimising the synergistic mutual information within the latents and the data for the task of disentanglement using the VAE framework.
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