- Keywords: Wyner's common information, information theoretic regularization, information bottleneck, representation learning, generative models, conditional generation, joint generation, style transfer, variational autoencoders
- Abstract: A new variational autoencoder (VAE) model is proposed that learns a succinct common representation of two correlated data variables for conditional and joint generation tasks. The proposed Wyner VAE model is based on two information theoretic problems---distributed simulation and channel synthesis---in which Wyner's common information arises as the fundamental limit of the succinctness of the common representation. The Wyner VAE decomposes a pair of correlated data variables into their common representation (e.g., a shared concept) and local representations that capture the remaining randomness (e.g., texture and style) in respective data variables by imposing the mutual information between the data variables and the common representation as a regularization term. The utility of the proposed approach is demonstrated through experiments for joint and conditional generation with and without style control using synthetic data and real images. Experimental results show that learning a succinct common representation achieves better generative performance and that the proposed model outperforms existing VAE variants and the variational information bottleneck method.