Skip to main content

Diffusion-Model-Assisted Supervised Learning of Generative Models for Density Estimation

by Yanfang Liu, Minglei Yang, Zezhong Zhang, Guannan Zhang
Publication Type
Journal Name
Journal of Machine Learning for Modeling and Computing
Publication Date
Page Numbers
25 to 38

We present a supervised learning framework of training generative models for density estimation. Generative models, including generative adversarial networks (GANs), normalizing flows, and variational auto-encoders (VAEs), are usually considered as unsupervised learning models, because labeled data are usually unavailable for training. Despite the success of the generative models, there are several issues with the unsupervised training, e.g., requirement of reversible architectures, vanishing gradients, and training instability. To enable supervised learning in generative models, we utilize the score-based diffusion model to generate labeled data. Unlike existing diffusion models that train neural networks to learn the score function, we develop a training-free score estimation method. This approach uses mini-batch-based Monte Carlo estimators to directly approximate the score function at any spatial-temporal location in solving an ordinary differential equation (ODE), corresponding to the reverse-time stochastic differential equation (SDE). This approach can offer both high accuracy and substantial time savings in neural network training. Once the labeled data are generated, we can train a simple, fully connected neural network to learn the generative model in the supervised manner. Compared with existing normalizing flow models, our method does not require the use of reversible neural networks and avoids the computation of the Jacobian matrix. Compared with existing diffusion models, our method does not need to solve the reverse-time SDE to generate new samples. As a result, the sampling efficiency is significantly improved. We demonstrate the performance of our method by applying it to a set of 2D datasets as well as real data from the University of California Irvine (UCI) repository.