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Publication Detail
Practical lossless compression with latent variables using bits back coding
  • Publication Type:
  • Authors:
    Townsend J, Bird T, Barber D
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    1, 13
  • Published proceedings:
    7th International Conference on Learning Representations, ICLR 2019
  • Status:
  • Name of conference:
    ICLR 2019: International Conference on Learning Representations
  • Conference place:
    New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
  • Conference start date:
  • Conference finish date:
© 7th International Conference on Learning Representations, ICLR 2019. All Rights Reserved. Deep latent variable models have seen recent success in many data domains. Lossless compression is an application of these models which, despite having the potential to be highly useful, has yet to be implemented in a practical manner. We present 'Bits Back with ANS' (BB-ANS), a scheme to perform lossless compression with latent variable models at a near optimal rate. We demonstrate this scheme by using it to compress the MNIST dataset with a variational auto-encoder model (VAE), achieving compression rates superior to standard methods with only a simple VAE. Given that the scheme is highly amenable to parallelization, we conclude that with a sufficiently high quality generative model this scheme could be used to achieve substantial improvements in compression rate with acceptable running time. We make our implementation available open source at https://github.com/bits-back/bits-back.
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