On the difference between building and extracting patterns: a causal analysis of deep generative models.

Michel Besserve, Dominik Janzing, Bernhard Schoelkopf

Feb 15, 2018 (modified: Feb 15, 2018) ICLR 2018 Conference Blind Submission readers: everyone Show Bibtex
  • Abstract: Generative models are important tools to capture and investigate the properties of complex empirical data. Recent developments such as Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) and Variational Auto-Encoders (VAEs) use two very similar, but \textit{reverse}, deep convolutional architectures, one to generate and one to extract information from data. Does learning the parameters of both architectures obey the same rules? We exploit the causality principle of independence of mechanisms to quantify how the weights of successive layers adapt to each other. Using the recently introduced Spectral Independence Criterion, we quantify the dependencies between the kernels of successive convolutional layers and show that those are more independent for the generative process than for information extraction, in line with results from the field of causal inference. In addition, our experiments on generation of human faces suggest that more independence between successive layers of generators results in improved performance of these architectures.
  • TL;DR: We use causal inference to characterise the architecture of generative models
  • Keywords: GAN, VAE, causality