Semi-supervised Sequential Generative Models
Proceedings of the 36th Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence (UAI), PMLR 124:649-658, 2020.
We introduce a novel objective for training deep generative time-series models with discrete latent variables for which supervision is only sparsely available. This instance of semi-supervised learning is challenging for existing methods, because the exponential number of possible discrete latent configurations results in high variance gradient estimators. We first overcome this problem by extending the standard semi-supervised generative modeling objective with reweighted wake-sleep. However, we find that this approach still suffers when the frequency of available labels varies between training sequences. Finally, we introduce a unified objective inspired by teacher-forcing and show that this approach is robust to variable length supervision. We call the resulting method caffeinated wake-sleep (CWS) to emphasize its additional dependence on real data. We demonstrate its effectiveness with experiments on MNIST, handwriting, and fruit fly trajectory data.