Neural Autoregressive Distribution Estimation

Benigno Uría, Marc-Alexandre Côté, Karol Gregor, Iain Murray, and Hugo Larochelle.

We present Neural Autoregressive Distribution Estimation (NADE) models, which are neural network architectures applied to the problem of unsupervised distribution and density estimation. They leverage the probability product rule and a weight sharing scheme inspired from restricted Boltzmann machines, to yield an estimator that is both tractable and has good generalization performance. We discuss how they achieve competitive performance in modeling both binary and real-valued observations. We also present how deep NADE models can be trained to be agnostic to the ordering of input dimensions used by the autoregressive product rule decomposition. Finally, we also show how to exploit the topological structure of pixels in images using a deep convolutional architecture for NADE.

Journal of Machine Learning Research 17(205):1−37, 2016.
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Related papers: This paper pulls together a series of earlier papers: NADE, RNADE, and DNADE. There are some updated results and comparisons, with new material on incorporating a convolutional architecture. See also MADE and MAF.