Kocaoglu, Murat, Snyder, Christopher, Dimakis, Alexandros G., Vishwanath, Sriram

We propose an adversarial training procedure for learning a causal implicit generative model for a given causal graph. We show that adversarial training can be used to learn a generative model with true observational and interventional distributions if the generator architecture is consistent with the given causal graph. We consider the application of generating faces based on given binary labels where the dependency structure between the labels is preserved with a causal graph. This problem can be seen as learning a causal implicit generative model for the image and labels. We devise a two-stage procedure for this problem. First we train a causal implicit generative model over binary labels using a neural network consistent with a causal graph as the generator. We empirically show that WassersteinGAN can be used to output discrete labels. Later, we propose two new conditional GAN architectures, which we call CausalGAN and CausalBEGAN. We show that the optimal generator of the CausalGAN, given the labels, samples from the image distributions conditioned on these labels. The conditional GAN combined with a trained causal implicit generative model for the labels is then a causal implicit generative model over the labels and the generated image. We show that the proposed architectures can be used to sample from observational and interventional image distributions, even for interventions which do not naturally occur in the dataset.

Yang, Mengyue, Liu, Furui, Chen, Zhitang, Shen, Xinwei, Hao, Jianye, Wang, Jun

Learning disentanglement aims at finding a low dimensional representation, which consists of multiple explanatory and generative factors of the observational data. The framework of variational autoencoder is commonly used to disentangle independent factors from observations. However, in real scenarios, the factors with semantic meanings are not necessarily independent. Instead, there might be an underlying causal structure due to physics laws. We thus propose a new VAE based framework named CausalVAE, which includes causal layers to transform independent factors into causal factors that correspond to causally related concepts in data. We analyze the model identifiabitily of CausalVAE, showing that the generative model learned from the observational data recovers the true one up to a certain degree. Experiments are conducted on various datasets, including synthetic datasets consisting of pictures with multiple causally related objects abstracted from physical world, and a benchmark face dataset CelebA. The results show that the causal representations by CausalVAE are semantically interpretable, and lead to better results on downstream tasks. The new framework allows causal intervention, by which we can intervene any causal concepts to generate artificial data.

Wen, Bingyang, Colon, Luis Oliveros, Subbalakshmi, K. P., Chandramouli, R.

Synthetic data generation becomes prevalent as a solution to privacy leakage and data shortage. Generative models are designed to generate a realistic synthetic dataset, which can precisely express the data distribution for the real dataset. The generative adversarial networks (GAN), which gain great success in the computer vision fields, are doubtlessly used for synthetic data generation. Though there are prior works that have demonstrated great progress, most of them learn the correlations in the data distributions rather than the true processes in which the datasets are naturally generated. Correlation is not reliable for it is a statistical technique that only tells linear dependencies and is easily affected by the dataset's bias. Causality, which encodes all underlying factors of how the real data be naturally generated, is more reliable than correlation. In this work, we propose a causal model named Causal Tabular Generative Neural Network (Causal-TGAN) to generate synthetic tabular data using the tabular data's causal information. Extensive experiments on both simulated datasets and real datasets demonstrate the better performance of our method when given the true causal graph and a comparable performance when using the estimated causal graph.

Shen, Xinwei, Liu, Furui, Dong, Hanze, Lian, Qing, Chen, Zhitang, Zhang, Tong

This paper proposes a Disentangled gEnerative cAusal Representation (DEAR) learning method. Unlike existing disentanglement methods that enforce independence of the latent variables, we consider the general case where the underlying factors of interests can be causally correlated. We show that previous methods with independent priors fail to disentangle causally correlated factors. Motivated by this finding, we propose a new disentangled learning method called DEAR that enables causal controllable generation and causal representation learning. The key ingredient of this new formulation is to use a structural causal model (SCM) as the prior for a bidirectional generative model. The prior is then trained jointly with a generator and an encoder using a suitable GAN loss. Theoretical justification on the proposed formulation is provided, which guarantees disentangled causal representation learning under appropriate conditions. We conduct extensive experiments on both synthesized and real datasets to demonstrate the effectiveness of DEAR in causal controllable generation, and the benefits of the learned representations for downstream tasks in terms of sample efficiency and distributional robustness.

Pieters, Mathijs, Wiering, Marco

Generative adversarial networks (GANs) have demonstrated to be successful at generating realistic real-world images. In this paper we compare various GAN techniques, both supervised and unsupervised. The effects on training stability of different objective functions are compared. We add an encoder to the network, making it possible to encode images to the latent space of the GAN. The generator, discriminator and encoder are parameterized by deep convolutional neural networks. For the discriminator network we experimented with using the novel Capsule Network, a state-of-the-art technique for detecting global features in images. Experiments are performed using a digit and face dataset, with various visualizations illustrating the results. The results show that using the encoder network it is possible to reconstruct images. With the conditional GAN we can alter visual attributes of generated or encoded images. The experiments with the Capsule Network as discriminator result in generated images of a lower quality, compared to a standard convolutional neural network.