Keywords: representation learning, deep generative models, variational autoencoders, optimal transport, implicit distributions, meta-prior, disentanglement, clustering
TL;DR: GWAEs, our novel generative models, learn representations based on meta-priors by directly fitting their latent space into the data space.
Abstract: Variational Autoencoder (VAE)-based generative models offer flexible representation learning by incorporating meta-priors, general premises considered beneficial for downstream tasks. However, the incorporated meta-priors often involve ad-hoc model deviations from the original likelihood architecture, causing undesirable changes in their training. In this paper, we propose a novel representation learning method, Gromov-Wasserstein Autoencoders (GWAE), which directly matches the latent and data distributions using the variational autoencoding scheme. Instead of likelihood-based objectives, GWAE models minimize the Gromov-Wasserstein (GW) metric between the trainable prior and given data distributions. The GW metric measures the distance structure-oriented discrepancy between distributions even with different dimensionalities, which provides a direct measure between the latent and data spaces. By restricting the prior family, we can introduce meta-priors into the latent space without changing their objective. The empirical comparisons with VAE-based models show that GWAE models work in two prominent meta-priors, disentanglement and clustering, with their GW objective unchanged.
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