Classification Accuracy Score for Conditional Generative Models

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

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Suman Ravuri, Oriol Vinyals


Deep generative models (DGMs) of images are now sufficiently mature that they produce nearly photorealistic samples and obtain scores similar to the data distribution on heuristics such as Frechet Inception Distance (FID). These results, especially on large-scale datasets such as ImageNet, suggest that DGMs are learning the data distribution in a perceptually meaningful space and can be used in downstream tasks. To test this latter hypothesis, we use class-conditional generative models from a number of model classes—variational autoencoders, autoregressive models, and generative adversarial networks (GANs)—to infer the class labels of real data. We perform this inference by training an image classifier using only synthetic data and using the classifier to predict labels on real data. The performance on this task, which we call Classification Accuracy Score (CAS), reveals some surprising results not identified by traditional metrics and constitute our contributions. First, when using a state-of-the-art GAN (BigGAN-deep), Top-1 and Top-5 accuracy decrease by 27.9% and 41.6%, respectively, compared to the original data; and conditional generative models from other model classes, such as Vector-Quantized Variational Autoencoder-2 (VQ-VAE-2) and Hierarchical Autoregressive Models (HAMs), substantially outperform GANs on this benchmark. Second, CAS automatically surfaces particular classes for which generative models failed to capture the data distribution, and were previously unknown in the literature. Third, we find traditional GAN metrics such as Inception Score (IS) and FID neither predictive of CAS nor useful when evaluating non-GAN models. Furthermore, in order to facilitate better diagnoses of generative models, we open-source the proposed metric.