Unsupervised Learning of Compositional Energy Concepts

Yilun Du · Shuang Li · Yash Sharma · Josh Tenenbaum · Igor Mordatch

Keywords: [ Self-Supervised Learning ] [ Optimization ] [ Representation Learning ]

[ Abstract ]
Thu 9 Dec 8:30 a.m. PST — 10 a.m. PST


Humans are able to rapidly understand scenes by utilizing concepts extracted from prior experience. Such concepts are diverse, and include global scene descriptors, such as the weather or lighting, as well as local scene descriptors, such as the color or size of a particular object. So far, unsupervised discovery of concepts has focused on either modeling the global scene-level or the local object-level factors of variation, but not both. In this work, we propose COMET, which discovers and represents concepts as separate energy functions, enabling us to represent both global concepts as well as objects under a unified framework. COMET discovers energy functions through recomposing the input image, which we find captures independent factors without additional supervision. Sample generation in COMET is formulated as an optimization process on underlying energy functions, enabling us to generate images with permuted and composed concepts. Finally, discovered visual concepts in COMET generalize well, enabling us to compose concepts between separate modalities of images as well as with other concepts discovered by a separate instance of COMET trained on a different dataset. Code and data available at

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