Variational autoencoders



A variational autoencoder uses a limited latent distribution to approximate a complex posterior distribution

A method at the intersection of stochastic variational inference and probabilistic neural nets where we presume that the model is generated by a low-dimensional latent space, which is, if you squint at it, kind of the information bottleneck trick but in a probabilistic setting. To my mind it is a sorta-kinda nonparametric approximate Bayes method.

There is a lot more going on here than I have time to explain, let alone that which I cannot have not even understood for myself.

TBD: connection to reparameterization tricks.

To explore: Relative complexity of these methods e.g. how long does it take to train a variational autoencoder for a given task compared to a similarly expressive GAN?

For now, check out some of the many tutorials, e.g.

References

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