Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 (NeurIPS 2020)
You Lu, Bert Huang
Normalizing flows are deep generative models that allow efficient likelihood calculation and sampling. The core requirement for this advantage is that they are constructed using functions that can be efficiently inverted and for which the determinant of the function's Jacobian can be efficiently computed. Researchers have introduced various such flow operations, but few of these allow rich interactions among variables without incurring significant computational costs. In this paper, we introduce Woodbury transformations, which achieve efficient invertibility via the Woodbury matrix identity and efficient determinant calculation via Sylvester's determinant identity. In contrast with other operations used in state-of-the-art normalizing flows, Woodbury transformations enable (1) high-dimensional interactions, (2) efficient sampling, and (3) efficient likelihood evaluation. Other similar operations, such as 1x1 convolutions, emerging convolutions, or periodic convolutions allow at most two of these three advantages. In our experiments on multiple image datasets, we find that Woodbury transformations allow learning of higher-likelihood models than other flow architectures while still enjoying their efficiency advantages.