Statistical and Topological Properties of Sliced Probability Divergences

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 (NeurIPS 2020)

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Kimia Nadjahi, Alain Durmus, Lénaïc Chizat, Soheil Kolouri, Shahin Shahrampour, Umut Simsekli


<p>The idea of slicing divergences has been proven to be successful when comparing two probability measures in various machine learning applications including generative modeling, and consists in computing the expected value of a `base divergence' between \emph{one-dimensional random projections} of the two measures. However, the topological, statistical, and computational consequences of this technique have not yet been well-established. In this paper, we aim at bridging this gap and derive various theoretical properties of sliced probability divergences. First, we show that slicing preserves the metric axioms and the weak continuity of the divergence, implying that the sliced divergence will share similar topological properties. We then precise the results in the case where the base divergence belongs to the class of integral probability metrics. On the other hand, we establish that, under mild conditions, the sample complexity of a sliced divergence does not depend on the problem dimension. We finally apply our general results to several base divergences, and illustrate our theory on both synthetic and real data experiments.</p>