Stable Distribution Alignment Using the Dual of the Adversarial Distance

Ben Usman, Kate Saenko, Brian Kulis

Feb 12, 2018 (modified: Feb 12, 2018) ICLR 2018 Workshop Submission readers: everyone
  • Abstract: Methods that align distributions by minimizing an adversarial distance between them have recently achieved impressive results. However, these approaches are difficult to optimize with gradient descent and they often do not converge well without careful hyperparameter tuning and proper initialization. We investigate whether turning the adversarial min-max problem into an optimization problem by replacing the maximization part with its dual improves the quality of the resulting alignment and explore its connections to Maximum Mean Discrepancy. Our empirical results suggest that using the dual formulation for the restricted family of linear discriminators results in a more stable convergence to a desirable solution when compared with the performance of a primal min-max GAN-like objective and an MMD objective under the same restrictions. We test our hypothesis on the problem of aligning two synthetic point clouds on a plane and on a real-image domain adaptation problem on digits. In both cases, the dual formulation yields an iterative procedure that gives more stable and monotonic improvement over time.
  • TL;DR: We propose a dual version of the logistic adversarial distance for feature alignment and show that it yields more stable gradient step iterations than the min-max objective.
  • Keywords: domain adaptation, adversarial networks, statistical distance, duality