Mon, Jan 1, 4:00pm

On the Generalization Properties of Diffusion Models

Abstract: Diffusion models are a class of generative models that serve to establish a stochastic transport map between an empirically observed, yet unknown, target distribution and a known prior. Despite their remarkable success in real-world applications, a theoretical understanding of their generalization capabilities remains underdeveloped. This work embarks on a comprehensive theoretical exploration of the generalization attributes of diffusion models. We establish theoretical estimates of the generalization gap that evolves in tandem with the training dynamics of score-based diffusion models, suggesting a polynomially small generalization error (O(n−2/5+m−4/5)) on both the sample size n and the model capacity m, evading the curse of dimensionality (i.e., not exponentially large in the data dimension) when early-stopped. Furthermore, we extend our quantitative analysis to a data-dependent scenario, wherein target distributions are portrayed as a succession of densities with progressively increasing distances between modes. This precisely elucidates the adverse effect of "modes shift" in ground truths on the model generalization. Moreover, these estimates are not solely theoretical constructs but have also been confirmed through numerical simulations. Our findings contribute to the rigorous understanding of diffusion models' generalization properties and provide insights that may guide practical applications.


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