Flow Models for Arbitrary Conditional Likelihoods

Jul 12, 2020

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Understanding the dependencies among features of a dataset is at the core of most unsupervised learning tasks. However, a majority of generative modeling approaches are focused solely on the joint distribution p(x) and utilize models where it is intractable to obtain the conditional distribution of some arbitrary subset of features x_u given the rest of the observed covariates x_o: p(x_u | x_o). Traditional conditional approaches provide a model for a fixed set of covariates conditioned on another fixed set of observed covariates. Instead, in this work we develop a model that is capable of yielding all conditional distributions p(x_u | x_o) (for arbitrary x_u) via tractable conditional likelihoods. We propose a novel extension of (change of variables based) flow generative models, arbitrary conditioning flow models (ACFlow). ACFlow can be conditioned on arbitrary subsets of observed covariates, which was previously infeasible. We further extend ACFlow to model the joint distributions p(x) and arbitrary marginal distributions p(x_u). We also apply ACFlow to the imputation of features, and develop a unified platform for both multiple and single imputation by introducing an auxiliary objective that provides a principled single “best guess” for flow models. Extensive empirical evaluations show that our model achieves state-of-the-art performance in modeling arbitrary conditional likelihoods in addition to both single and multiple imputation in synthetic and real-world datasets.

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About ICML 2020

The International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) is the premier gathering of professionals dedicated to the advancement of the branch of artificial intelligence known as machine learning. ICML is globally renowned for presenting and publishing cutting-edge research on all aspects of machine learning used in closely related areas like artificial intelligence, statistics and data science, as well as important application areas such as machine vision, computational biology, speech recognition, and robotics. ICML is one of the fastest growing artificial intelligence conferences in the world. Participants at ICML span a wide range of backgrounds, from academic and industrial researchers, to entrepreneurs and engineers, to graduate students and postdocs.

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