Physics-Integrated Variational Autoencoders for Robust and Interpretable Generative Modeling

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 pre-proceedings (NeurIPS 2021)

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Authors

Naoya Takeishi, Alexandros Kalousis

Abstract

Integrating physics models within machine learning models holds considerable promise toward learning robust models with improved interpretability and abilities to extrapolate. In this work, we focus on the integration of incomplete physics models into deep generative models. In particular, we introduce an architecture of variational autoencoders (VAEs) in which a part of the latent space is grounded by physics. A key technical challenge is to strike a balance between the incomplete physics and trainable components such as neural networks for ensuring that the physics part is used in a meaningful manner. To this end, we propose a regularized learning method that controls the effect of the trainable components and preserves the semantics of the physics-based latent variables as intended. We not only demonstrate generative performance improvements over a set of synthetic and real-world datasets, but we also show that we learn robust models that can consistently extrapolate beyond the training distribution in a meaningful manner. Moreover, we show that we can control the generative process in an interpretable manner.