Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 32 (NeurIPS 2019)
Jonathan Ho, Evan Lohn, Pieter Abbeel
Likelihood-based generative models are the backbones of lossless compression due to the guaranteed existence of codes with lengths close to negative log likelihood. However, there is no guaranteed existence of computationally efficient codes that achieve these lengths, and coding algorithms must be hand-tailored to specific types of generative models to ensure computational efficiency. Such coding algorithms are known for autoregressive models and variational autoencoders, but not for general types of flow models. To fill in this gap, we introduce local bits-back coding, a new compression technique for flow models. We present efficient algorithms that instantiate our technique for many popular types of flows, and we demonstrate that our algorithms closely achieve theoretical codelengths for state-of-the-art flow models on high-dimensional data.