Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 31 (NeurIPS 2018)
Mike Wu, Noah Goodman
Multiple modalities often co-occur when describing natural phenomena. Learning a joint representation of these modalities should yield deeper and more useful representations.Previous generative approaches to multi-modal input either do not learn a joint distribution or require additional computation to handle missing data. Here, we introduce a multimodal variational autoencoder (MVAE) that uses a product-of-experts inference network and a sub-sampled training paradigm to solve the multi-modal inference problem. Notably, our model shares parameters to efficiently learn under any combination of missing modalities. We apply the MVAE on four datasets and match state-of-the-art performance using many fewer parameters. In addition, we show that the MVAE is directly applicable to weakly-supervised learning, and is robust to incomplete supervision. We then consider two case studies, one of learning image transformations---edge detection, colorization, segmentation---as a set of modalities, followed by one of machine translation between two languages. We find appealing results across this range of tasks.