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  1. Learning energy-based model (EBM) requires MCMC sampling of the learned model as an inner loop of the learning algorithm. However, MCMC sampling of EBMs in high-dimensional data space is generally not mixing, because the energy function, which is usually parametrized by deep network, is highly multi-modal in the data space. This is a serious handicap for both theory and practice of EBMs. In this paper, we propose to learn EBM with a flow-based model (or in general latent variable model) serving as a backbone, so that the EBM is a correction or an exponential tilting of the flow-based model. We show that the model has a particularly simple form in the space of the latent variables of the generative model, and MCMC sampling of the EBM in the latent space mixes well and traverses modes in the data space. This enables proper sampling and learning of EBMs.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  2. We propose to learn energy-based model (EBM) in the latent space of a generator model, so that the EBM serves as a prior model that stands on the top-down networkofthegeneratormodel. BoththelatentspaceEBMandthetop-down network can be learned jointly by maximum likelihood, which involves short-run MCMC sampling from both the prior and posterior distributions of the latent vector. Due to the low dimensionality of the latent space and the expressiveness of the top-down network, a simple EBM in latent space can capture regularities in the data effectively, and MCMC sampling in latent space is efficient and mixes well. We show that the learned model exhibits strong performances in terms of image and text generation and anomaly detection. The one-page code can be found in supplementary materials.
  3. Latent variable models for text, when trained successfully, accurately model the data distribution and capture global semantic and syntactic features of sentences. The prominent approach to train such models is variational autoencoders (VAE). It is nevertheless challenging to train and often results in a trivial local optimum where the latent variable is ignored and its posterior collapses into the prior, an issue known as posterior collapse. Various techniques have been proposed to mitigate this issue. Most of them focus on improving the inference model to yield latent codes of higher quality. The present work proposes a short run dynamics for inference. It is initialized from the prior distribution of the latent variable and then runs a small number (e.g., 20) of Langevin dynamics steps guided by its posterior distribution. The major advantage of our method is that it does not require a separate inference model or assume simple geometry of the posterior distribution, thus rendering an automatic, natural and flexible inference engine. We show that the models trained with short run dynamics more accurately model the data, compared to strong language model and VAE baselines, and exhibit no sign of posterior collapse. Analyses of the latent space show that interpolationmore »in the latent space is able to generate coherent sentences with smooth transition and demonstrate improved classification over strong baselines with latent features from unsupervised pretraining. These results together expose a well-structured latent space of our generative model.« less
  4. This paper studies the fundamental problem of learning deep generative models that consist of multiple layers of latent variables organized in top-down architectures. Such models have high expressivity and allow for learning hierarchical representations. Learning such a generative model requires inferring the latent variables for each training example based on the posterior distribution of these latent variables. The inference typically requires Markov chain Monte Caro (MCMC) that can be time consuming. In this paper, we propose to use noise initialized non-persistent short run MCMC, such as nite step Langevin dynamics initialized from the prior distribution of the latent variables, as an approximate inference engine, where the step size of the Langevin dynamics is variationally optimized by minimizing the Kullback-Leibler divergence between the distribution produced by the short run MCMC and the posterior distribution. Our experiments show that the proposed method outperforms variational auto-encoder (VAE) in terms of reconstruction error and synthesis quality. The advantage of the proposed method is that it is simple and automatic without the need to design an inference model.