Aaron van den Oord

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Research Scientist at Google DeepMind

  • Wasserstein Dependency Measure for Representation Learning

    Mutual information maximization has emerged as a powerful learning objective for unsupervised representation learning obtaining state-of-the-art performance in applications such as object recognition, speech recognition, and reinforcement learning. However, such approaches are fundamentally limited since a tight lower bound of mutual information requires sample size exponential in the mutual information. This limits the applicability of these approaches for prediction tasks with high mutual information, such as in video understanding or reinforcement learning. In these settings, such techniques are prone to overfit, both in theory and in practice, and capture only a few of the relevant factors of variation. This leads to incomplete representations that are not optimal for downstream tasks. In this work, we empirically demonstrate that mutual information-based representation learning approaches do fail to learn complete representations on a number of designed and real-world tasks. To mitigate these problems we introduce the Wasserstein dependency measure, which learns more complete representations by using the Wasserstein distance instead of the KL divergence in the mutual information estimator. We show that a practical approximation to this theoretically motivated solution, constructed using Lipschitz constraint techniques from the GAN literature, achieves substantially improved results on tasks where incomplete representations are a major challenge.

    03/28/2019 ∙ by Sherjil Ozair, et al. ∙ 18 share

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  • Unsupervised speech representation learning using WaveNet autoencoders

    We consider the task of unsupervised extraction of meaningful latent representations of speech by applying autoencoding neural networks to speech waveforms. The goal is to learn a representation able to capture high level semantic content from the signal, e.g. phoneme identities, while being invariant to confounding low level details in the signal such as the underlying pitch contour or background noise. The behavior of autoencoder models depends on the kind of constraint that is applied to the latent representation. We compare three variants: a simple dimensionality reduction bottleneck, a Gaussian Variational Autoencoder (VAE), and a discrete Vector Quantized VAE (VQ-VAE). We analyze the quality of learned representations in terms of speaker independence, the ability to predict phonetic content, and the ability to accurately reconstruct individual spectrogram frames. Moreover, for discrete encodings extracted using the VQ-VAE, we measure the ease of mapping them to phonemes. We introduce a regularization scheme that forces the representations to focus on the phonetic content of the utterance and report performance comparable with the top entries in the ZeroSpeech 2017 unsupervised acoustic unit discovery task.

    01/25/2019 ∙ by Jan Chorowski, et al. ∙ 12 share

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  • On Variational Bounds of Mutual Information

    Estimating and optimizing Mutual Information (MI) is core to many problems in machine learning; however, bounding MI in high dimensions is challenging. To establish tractable and scalable objectives, recent work has turned to variational bounds parameterized by neural networks, but the relationships and tradeoffs between these bounds remains unclear. In this work, we unify these recent developments in a single framework. We find that the existing variational lower bounds degrade when the MI is large, exhibiting either high bias or high variance. To address this problem, we introduce a continuum of lower bounds that encompasses previous bounds and flexibly trades off bias and variance. On high-dimensional, controlled problems, we empirically characterize the bias and variance of the bounds and their gradients and demonstrate the effectiveness of our new bounds for estimation and representation learning.

    05/16/2019 ∙ by Ben Poole, et al. ∙ 8 share

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  • The challenge of realistic music generation: modelling raw audio at scale

    Realistic music generation is a challenging task. When building generative models of music that are learnt from data, typically high-level representations such as scores or MIDI are used that abstract away the idiosyncrasies of a particular performance. But these nuances are very important for our perception of musicality and realism, so in this work we embark on modelling music in the raw audio domain. It has been shown that autoregressive models excel at generating raw audio waveforms of speech, but when applied to music, we find them biased towards capturing local signal structure at the expense of modelling long-range correlations. This is problematic because music exhibits structure at many different timescales. In this work, we explore autoregressive discrete autoencoders (ADAs) as a means to enable autoregressive models to capture long-range correlations in waveforms. We find that they allow us to unconditionally generate piano music directly in the raw audio domain, which shows stylistic consistency across tens of seconds.

    06/26/2018 ∙ by Sander Dieleman, et al. ∙ 6 share

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  • Preventing Posterior Collapse with delta-VAEs

    Due to the phenomenon of "posterior collapse," current latent variable generative models pose a challenging design choice that either weakens the capacity of the decoder or requires augmenting the objective so it does not only maximize the likelihood of the data. In this paper, we propose an alternative that utilizes the most powerful generative models as decoders, whilst optimising the variational lower bound all while ensuring that the latent variables preserve and encode useful information. Our proposed δ-VAEs achieve this by constraining the variational family for the posterior to have a minimum distance to the prior. For sequential latent variable models, our approach resembles the classic representation learning approach of slow feature analysis. We demonstrate the efficacy of our approach at modeling text on LM1B and modeling images: learning representations, improving sample quality, and achieving state of the art log-likelihood on CIFAR-10 and ImageNet 32× 32.

    01/10/2019 ∙ by Ali Razavi, et al. ∙ 4 share

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  • Generating Diverse High-Fidelity Images with VQ-VAE-2

    We explore the use of Vector Quantized Variational AutoEncoder (VQ-VAE) models for large scale image generation. To this end, we scale and enhance the autoregressive priors used in VQ-VAE to generate synthetic samples of much higher coherence and fidelity than possible before. We use simple feed-forward encoder and decoder networks, making our model an attractive candidate for applications where the encoding and/or decoding speed is critical. Additionally, VQ-VAE requires sampling an autoregressive model only in the compressed latent space, which is an order of magnitude faster than sampling in the pixel space, especially for large images. We demonstrate that a multi-scale hierarchical organization of VQ-VAE, augmented with powerful priors over the latent codes, is able to generate samples with quality that rivals that of state of the art Generative Adversarial Networks on multifaceted datasets such as ImageNet, while not suffering from GAN's known shortcomings such as mode collapse and lack of diversity.

    06/02/2019 ∙ by Ali Razavi, et al. ∙ 4 share

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  • Data-Efficient Image Recognition with Contrastive Predictive Coding

    Large scale deep learning excels when labeled images are abundant, yet data-efficient learning remains a longstanding challenge. While biological vision is thought to leverage vast amounts of unlabeled data to solve classification problems with limited supervision, computer vision has so far not succeeded in this `semi-supervised' regime. Our work tackles this challenge with Contrastive Predictive Coding, an unsupervised objective which extracts stable structure from still images. The result is a representation which, equipped with a simple linear classifier, separates ImageNet categories better than all competing methods, and surpasses the performance of a fully-supervised AlexNet model. When given a small number of labeled images (as few as 13 per class), this representation retains a strong classification performance, outperforming state-of-the-art semi-supervised methods by 10 and supervised methods by 20 to serve as a useful substrate for image detection on the PASCAL-VOC 2007 dataset, approaching the performance of representations trained with a fully annotated ImageNet dataset. We expect these results to open the door to pipelines that use scalable unsupervised representations as a drop-in replacement for supervised ones for real-world vision tasks where labels are scarce.

    05/22/2019 ∙ by Olivier J. Hénaff, et al. ∙ 3 share

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  • Sample Efficient Adaptive Text-to-Speech

    We present a meta-learning approach for adaptive text-to-speech (TTS) with few data. During training, we learn a multi-speaker model using a shared conditional WaveNet core and independent learned embeddings for each speaker. The aim of training is not to produce a neural network with fixed weights, which is then deployed as a TTS system. Instead, the aim is to produce a network that requires few data at deployment time to rapidly adapt to new speakers. We introduce and benchmark three strategies: (i) learning the speaker embedding while keeping the WaveNet core fixed, (ii) fine-tuning the entire architecture with stochastic gradient descent, and (iii) predicting the speaker embedding with a trained neural network encoder. The experiments show that these approaches are successful at adapting the multi-speaker neural network to new speakers, obtaining state-of-the-art results in both sample naturalness and voice similarity with merely a few minutes of audio data from new speakers.

    09/27/2018 ∙ by Yutian Chen, et al. ∙ 2 share

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  • WaveNet: A Generative Model for Raw Audio

    This paper introduces WaveNet, a deep neural network for generating raw audio waveforms. The model is fully probabilistic and autoregressive, with the predictive distribution for each audio sample conditioned on all previous ones; nonetheless we show that it can be efficiently trained on data with tens of thousands of samples per second of audio. When applied to text-to-speech, it yields state-of-the-art performance, with human listeners rating it as significantly more natural sounding than the best parametric and concatenative systems for both English and Mandarin. A single WaveNet can capture the characteristics of many different speakers with equal fidelity, and can switch between them by conditioning on the speaker identity. When trained to model music, we find that it generates novel and often highly realistic musical fragments. We also show that it can be employed as a discriminative model, returning promising results for phoneme recognition.

    09/12/2016 ∙ by Aaron van den Oord, et al. ∙ 0 share

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  • Parallel WaveNet: Fast High-Fidelity Speech Synthesis

    The recently-developed WaveNet architecture is the current state of the art in realistic speech synthesis, consistently rated as more natural sounding for many different languages than any previous system. However, because WaveNet relies on sequential generation of one audio sample at a time, it is poorly suited to today's massively parallel computers, and therefore hard to deploy in a real-time production setting. This paper introduces Probability Density Distillation, a new method for training a parallel feed-forward network from a trained WaveNet with no significant difference in quality. The resulting system is capable of generating high-fidelity speech samples at more than 20 times faster than real-time, and is deployed online by Google Assistant, including serving multiple English and Japanese voices.

    11/28/2017 ∙ by Aaron van den Oord, et al. ∙ 0 share

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  • Parallel Multiscale Autoregressive Density Estimation

    PixelCNN achieves state-of-the-art results in density estimation for natural images. Although training is fast, inference is costly, requiring one network evaluation per pixel; O(N) for N pixels. This can be sped up by caching activations, but still involves generating each pixel sequentially. In this work, we propose a parallelized PixelCNN that allows more efficient inference by modeling certain pixel groups as conditionally independent. Our new PixelCNN model achieves competitive density estimation and orders of magnitude speedup - O(log N) sampling instead of O(N) - enabling the practical generation of 512x512 images. We evaluate the model on class-conditional image generation, text-to-image synthesis, and action-conditional video generation, showing that our model achieves the best results among non-pixel-autoregressive density models that allow efficient sampling.

    03/10/2017 ∙ by Scott Reed, et al. ∙ 0 share

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