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Generalizing Point Embeddings using the Wasserstein Space of Elliptical Distributions
Boris Muzellec · Marco Cuturi

Tue Dec 04 07:45 AM -- 09:45 AM (PST) @ Room 210 #17

Embedding complex objects as vectors in low dimensional spaces is a longstanding problem in machine learning. We propose in this work an extension of that approach, which consists in embedding objects as elliptical probability distributions, namely distributions whose densities have elliptical level sets. We endow these measures with the 2-Wasserstein metric, with two important benefits: (i) For such measures, the squared 2-Wasserstein metric has a closed form, equal to a weighted sum of the squared Euclidean distance between means and the squared Bures metric between covariance matrices. The latter is a Riemannian metric between positive semi-definite matrices, which turns out to be Euclidean on a suitable factor representation of such matrices, which is valid on the entire geodesic between these matrices. (ii) The 2-Wasserstein distance boils down to the usual Euclidean metric when comparing Diracs, and therefore provides a natural framework to extend point embeddings. We show that for these reasons Wasserstein elliptical embeddings are more intuitive and yield tools that are better behaved numerically than the alternative choice of Gaussian embeddings with the Kullback-Leibler divergence. In particular, and unlike previous work based on the KL geometry, we learn elliptical distributions that are not necessarily diagonal. We demonstrate the advantages of elliptical embeddings by using them for visualization, to compute embeddings of words, and to reflect entailment or hypernymy.

Author Information

Boris Muzellec (ENSAE ParisTech)
Marco Cuturi (Google Brain & CREST - ENSAE)

Marco Cuturi is a research scientist at Google AI, Brain team in Paris. He received his Ph.D. in 11/2005 from the Ecole des Mines de Paris in applied mathematics. Before that he graduated from National School of Statistics (ENSAE) with a master degree (MVA) from ENS Cachan. He worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the Institute of Statistical Mathematics, Tokyo, between 11/2005 and 3/2007 and then in the financial industry between 4/2007 and 9/2008. After working at the ORFE department of Princeton University as a lecturer between 2/2009 and 8/2010, he was at the Graduate School of Informatics of Kyoto University between 9/2010 and 9/2016 as a tenured associate professor. He joined ENSAE in 9/2016 as a professor, where he is now working part-time. His main employment is now with Google AI (Brain team in Paris) since 10/2018, as a research scientist working on fundamental aspects of machine learning.

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