Last night at the Paris Machine Learning meetup, we had a presentation on GANs designed to produce images of cracks (yes, GANs on cracks has a good sound to it Julien !). Here is a short insight for readers of Nuit Blanche as written by Eric Jang in a recent blog entry (that you should read in its entirety by the way, it's all good !):

For example, if we wanted to minimize some error for image compression/reconstruction, often what we find is that a naive choice of error metric (e.g. euclidean distance to the ground truth label) results in qualitatively bad results. The design flaw is that we don’t have good perceptual similarity metrics for images that are universally applicable for the space of all images. GANs use a second “adversarial” network learn an optimal implicit distance function (in theory).

This report summarizes the tutorial presented by the author at NIPS 2016 on generative adversarial networks (GANs). The tutorial describes: (1) Why generative modeling is a topic worth studying, (2) how generative models work, and how GANs compare to other generative models, (3) the details of how GANs work, (4) research frontiers in GANs, and (5) state-of-the-art image models that combine GANs with other methods. Finally, the tutorial contains three exercises for readers to complete, and the solutions to these exercises.

Learning in Implicit Generative Models by Shakir Mohamed, Balaji Lakshminarayanan

Generative adversarial networks (GANs) provide an algorithmic framework for constructing generative models with several appealing properties: they do not require a likelihood function to be specified, only a generating procedure; they provide samples that are sharp and compelling; and they allow us to harness our knowledge of building highly accurate neural network classifiers. Here, we develop our understanding of GANs with the aim of forming a rich view of this growing area of machine learning---to build connections to the diverse set of statistical thinking on this topic, of which much can be gained by a mutual exchange of ideas. We frame GANs within the wider landscape of algorithms for learning in implicit generative models--models that only specify a stochastic procedure with which to generate data--and relate these ideas to modelling problems in related fields, such as econometrics and approximate Bayesian computation. We develop likelihood-free inference methods and highlight hypothesis testing as a principle for learning in implicit generative models, using which we are able to derive the objective function used by GANs, and many other related objectives. The testing viewpoint directs our focus to the general problem of density ratio estimation. There are four approaches for density ratio estimation, one of which is a solution using classifiers to distinguish real from generated data. Other approaches such as divergence minimisation and moment matching have also been explored in the GAN literature, and we synthesise these views to form an understanding in terms of the relationships between them and the wider literature, highlighting avenues for future exploration and cross-pollination.

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