Kernelised Normalising Flows

Published: 16 Jan 2024, Last Modified: 14 Mar 2024ICLR 2024 posterEveryoneRevisionsBibTeX
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Keywords: Machine Learning, Maximum Likelihood, Density Estimation, Statistics, Kernels
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TL;DR: Replacing neural network with kernelised transforms can improve normalising flow likelihood fit, especially in low-data regime
Abstract: Normalising Flows are non-parametric statistical models known for their dual capabilities of density estimation and generation. They are distinguished by their inherently invertible architecture. However, the requirement of invertibility imposes constraints on their expressiveness, necessitating a large number of parameters and innovative architectural designs to achieve satisfactory outcomes. Whilst flow-based models predominantly rely on neural-network-based transformations for expressive designs, alternative transformation methods have received limited attention. In this work, we present Ferumal flow, a novel kernelised normalising flow paradigm that integrates kernels into the framework. Our results demonstrate that a kernelised flow can yield competitive or superior results compared to neural network-based flows whilst maintaining parameter efficiency. Kernelised flows excel especially in the low-data regime, enabling flexible non-parametric density estimation in applications with sparse data availability.
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Primary Area: probabilistic methods (Bayesian methods, variational inference, sampling, UQ, etc.)
Submission Number: 7240