Neural Diffusion Processes

Date June 9, 2023
Authors Vincent Dutordoir, Alan Saul, Zoubin Ghahramani, Fergus Simpson

Neural network approaches for meta-learning distributions over functions have desirable properties such as increased flexibility and a reduced complexity of inference. Building on the successes of denoising diffusion models for generative modeling, we propose Neural Diffusion Processes (NDPs), a novel approach that learns to sample from a rich distribution over functions through its finite marginals. By introducing a custom attention block we are able to incorporate properties of stochastic processes, such as exchangeability, directly into the NDP's architecture. We empirically show that NDPs can capture functional distributions close to the true Bayesian posterior, demonstrating that they can successfully emulate the behaviour of Gaussian processes and surpass the performance of neural processes. NDPs enable a variety of downstream tasks, including regression, implicit hyperparameter marginalization, non-Gaussian posterior prediction and global optimization.

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