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Publication Detail
Improving latent variable descriptiveness by modelling rather than ad-hoc factors
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Mansbridge A, Fierimonte R, Feige I, Barber D
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    1601, 1611
  • Journal:
    Machine Learning
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
  • Status:
  • Print ISSN:
© 2019, The Author(s). Powerful generative models, particularly in natural language modelling, are commonly trained by maximizing a variational lower bound on the data log likelihood. These models often suffer from poor use of their latent variable, with ad-hoc annealing factors used to encourage retention of information in the latent variable. We discuss an alternative and general approach to latent variable modelling, based on an objective that encourages a perfect reconstruction by tying a stochastic autoencoder with a variational autoencoder (VAE). This ensures by design that the latent variable captures information about the observations, whilst retaining the ability to generate well. Interestingly, although our model is fundamentally different to a VAE, the lower bound attained is identical to the standard VAE bound but with the addition of a simple pre-factor; thus, providing a formal interpretation of the commonly used, ad-hoc pre-factors in training VAEs.
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