We decompose the evidence lower bound to show the existence of a term measuring the total correlation between latent variables. We use this to motivate our $\beta$-TCVAE (Total Correlation Variational Autoencoder), a refinement of the state-of-the-art $\beta$-VAE objective for learning disentangled representations, requiring no additional hyperparameters during training. We further propose a principled classifier-free measure of disentanglement called the mutual information gap (MIG). We perform extensive quantitative and qualitative experiments, in both restricted and non-restricted settings, and show a strong relation between total correlation and disentanglement, when the latent variables model is trained using our framework.

* Added more experiments and improved clarity
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We introduce a new family of deep neural network models. Instead of specifying a discrete sequence of hidden layers, we parameterize the derivative of the hidden state using a neural network. The output of the network is computed using a black-box differential equation solver. These continuous-depth models have constant memory cost, adapt their evaluation strategy to each input, and can explicitly trade numerical precision for speed. We demonstrate these properties in continuous-depth residual networks and continuous-time latent variable models. We also construct continuous normalizing flows, a generative model that can train by maximum likelihood, without partitioning or ordering the data dimensions. For training, we show how to scalably backpropagate through any ODE solver, without access to its internal operations. This allows end-to-end training of ODEs within larger models.

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A promising class of generative models maps points from a simple distribution to a complex distribution through an invertible neural network. Likelihood-based training of these models requires restricting their architectures to allow cheap computation of Jacobian determinants. Alternatively, the Jacobian trace can be used if the transformation is specified by an ordinary differential equation. In this paper, we use Hutchinson's trace estimator to give a scalable unbiased estimate of the log-density. The result is a continuous-time invertible generative model with unbiased density estimation and one-pass sampling, while allowing unrestricted neural network architectures. We demonstrate our approach on high-dimensional density estimation, image generation, and variational inference, achieving the state-of-the-art among exact likelihood methods with efficient sampling.

* 8 Pages, 6 figures
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