Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022) Main Conference Track
Mao Ye, Lemeng Wu, Qiang Liu
We propose a family of First Hitting Diffusion Models (FHDM), deep generative models that generate data with a diffusion process that terminates at a random first hitting time. This yields an extension of the standard fixed-time diffusion models that terminate at a pre-specified deterministic time. Although standard diffusion models are designed for continuous unconstrained data, FHDM is naturally designed to learn distributions on continuous as well as a range of discrete and structure domains. Moreover, FHDM enables instance-dependent terminate time and accelerates the diffusion process to sample higher quality data with fewer diffusion steps. Technically, we train FHDM by maximum likelihood estimation on diffusion trajectories augmented from observed data with conditional first hitting processes (i.e., bridge) derived based on Doob's $h$-transform, deviating from the commonly used time-reversal mechanism. We apply FHDM to generate data in various domains such as point cloud (general continuous distribution), climate and geographical events on earth (continuous distribution on the sphere), unweighted graphs (distribution of binary matrices), and segmentation maps of 2D images (high-dimensional categorical distribution). We observe considerable improvement compared with the state-of-the-art approaches in both quality and speed.