#### Improved sampling via learned diffusions (2024)

- Generative modeling
- Sampling

Lorenz Richter, Julius Berner, Guan-Horng Liu

Recently, a series of papers proposed deep learning-based approaches to sample from unnormalized target densities using controlled diffusion processes. In this work, we identify these approaches as special cases of the Schrödinger bridge problem, seeking the most likely stochastic evolution between a given prior distribution and the specified target. We further generalize this framework by introducing a variational formulation based on divergences between path space measures of time-reversed diffusion processes. This abstract perspective leads to practical losses that can be optimized by gradient-based algorithms and includes previous objectives as special cases. At the same time, it allows us to consider divergences other than the reverse Kullback-Leibler divergence that is known to suffer from mode collapse. In particular, we propose the so-called log-variance loss, which exhibits favorable numerical properties and leads to significantly improved performance across all considered approaches.