Fast Optimal Transport through Sliced Generalized Wasserstein Geodesics

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper


Guillaume Mahey, Laetitia Chapel, Gilles Gasso, Clément Bonet, Nicolas Courty


Wasserstein distance (WD) and the associated optimal transport plan have been proven useful in many applications where probability measures are at stake. In this paper, we propose a new proxy of the squared WD, coined $\textnormal{min-SWGG}$, that is based on the transport map induced by an optimal one-dimensional projection of the two input distributions. We draw connections between $\textnormal{min-SWGG}$, and Wasserstein generalized geodesics in which the pivot measure is supported on a line. We notably provide a new closed form for the exact Wasserstein distance in the particular case of one of the distributions supported on a line allowing us to derive a fast computational scheme that is amenable to gradient descent optimization. We show that $\textnormal{min-SWGG}$, is an upper bound of WD and that it has a complexity similar to as Sliced-Wasserstein, with the additional feature of providing an associated transport plan. We also investigate some theoretical properties such as metricity, weak convergence, computational and topological properties. Empirical evidences support the benefits of $\textnormal{min-SWGG}$, in various contexts, from gradient flows, shape matching and image colorization, among others.