Generalized Sliced Wasserstein Distances

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 32 (NeurIPS 2019)

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Soheil Kolouri, Kimia Nadjahi, Umut Simsekli, Roland Badeau, Gustavo Rohde


The Wasserstein distance and its variations, e.g., the sliced-Wasserstein (SW) distance, have recently drawn attention from the machine learning community. The SW distance, specifically, was shown to have similar properties to the Wasserstein distance, while being much simpler to compute, and is therefore used in various applications including generative modeling and general supervised/unsupervised learning. In this paper, we first clarify the mathematical connection between the SW distance and the Radon transform. We then utilize the generalized Radon transform to define a new family of distances for probability measures, which we call generalized sliced-Wasserstein (GSW) distances. We further show that, similar to the SW distance, the GSW distance can be extended to a maximum GSW (max-GSW) distance. We then provide the conditions under which GSW and max-GSW distances are indeed proper metrics. Finally, we compare the numerical performance of the proposed distances on the generative modeling task of SW flows and report favorable results.