Diffusion Based Representation Learning
Proceedings of the 40th International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 202:24963-24982, 2023.
Diffusion-based methods, represented as stochastic differential equations on a continuous-time domain, have recently proven successful as non-adversarial generative models. Training such models relies on denoising score matching, which can be seen as multi-scale denoising autoencoders. Here, we augment the denoising score matching framework to enable representation learning without any supervised signal. GANs and VAEs learn representations by directly transforming latent codes to data samples. In contrast, the introduced diffusion-based representation learning relies on a new formulation of the denoising score matching objective and thus encodes the information needed for denoising. We illustrate how this difference allows for manual control of the level of details encoded in the representation. Using the same approach, we propose to learn an infinite-dimensional latent code that achieves improvements on state-of-the-art models on semi-supervised image classification. We also compare the quality of learned representations of diffusion score matching with other methods like autoencoder and contrastively trained systems through their performances on downstream tasks. Finally, we also ablate with a different SDE formulation for diffusion models and show that the benefits on downstream tasks are still present on changing the underlying differential equation.