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Gacs-Korner Common Information Variational Autoencoder

Michael Kleinman · Alessandro Achille · Stefano Soatto · Jonathan Kao

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #917
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Wed 13 Dec 3 p.m. PST — 5 p.m. PST


We propose a notion of common information that allows one to quantify and separate the information that is shared between two random variables from the information that is unique to each. Our notion of common information is defined by an optimization problem over a family of functions and recovers the G\'acs-K\"orner common information as a special case. Importantly, our notion can be approximated empirically using samples from the underlying data distribution. We then provide a method to partition and quantify the common and unique information using a simple modification of a traditional variational auto-encoder. Empirically, we demonstrate that our formulation allows us to learn semantically meaningful common and unique factors of variation even on high-dimensional data such as images and videos. Moreover, on datasets where ground-truth latent factors are known, we show that we can accurately quantify the common information between the random variables.

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