ControlVAE: Controllable Variational Autoencoder

Jul 12, 2020

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Variational Autoencoders (VAE) and their variants have been widely used in a variety of applications, such as dialog generation, image generation and disentangled representation learning. However, the existing VAE models have some limitations in different applications. For example, a VAE easily suffers from KL vanishing in language modeling and low reconstruction quality for disentangling. To address these issues, we propose a novel controllable variational autoencoder framework, ControlVAE, that combines a controller, inspired by automatic control theory, with the basic VAE to improve the performance of resulting generative models. Specifically, we design a new non-linear PI controller, a variant of the proportional-integral-derivative (PID) control, to automatically tune the hyperparameter (weight) added in the VAE objective using the output KL-divergence as feedback during model training. The framework is evaluated using three applications; namely, language modeling, disentangled representation learning, and image generation. The results show that ControlVAE can achieve better disentangling and reconstruction quality than the existing methods. For language modelling, it not only averts the KL-vanishing, but also improves the diversity of generated text. Finally, we also demonstrate that ControlVAE improves the reconstruction quality of generated images compared to the original VAE.

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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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