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Event Series Event Series: Special Seminar Series

The Emergence of Reproducibility and Generalizability in Diffusion Models | Qing Qu

March 28 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Abstract: We reveal an intriguing and prevalent phenomenon of diffusion models which we term as “consistent model reproducibility”: given the same starting noise input and a deterministic sampler, different diffusion models often yield remarkably similar outputs while they generate new samples. We demonstrate this phenomenon through comprehensive experiments and theoretical studies, implying that different diffusion models consistently reach the same data distribution and scoring function regardless of frameworks, model architectures, or training procedures. More strikingly, our further investigation implies that diffusion models are learning distinct distributions affected by the training data size and model capacity, so that the model reproducibility manifests in two distinct training regimes with phase transition: (i) “memorization regime”, where the diffusion model overfits to the training data distribution, and (ii) “generalization regime”, where the model learns the underlying data distribution and generate new samples with finite training data. Finally, our results have strong practical implications regarding training efficiency, model privacy, and controllable generation of diffusion models, and our work raises numerous intriguing theoretical questions for future investigation.

Speaker Bio: Qing Qu is an assistant professor in EECS department at the University of Michigan. Prior to that, he was a Moore-Sloan data science fellow at Center for Data Science, New York University, from 2018 to 2020. He received his Ph.D from Columbia University in Electrical Engineering in Oct. 2018. He received his B.Eng. from Tsinghua University in Jul. 2011, and a M.Sc.from the Johns Hopkins University in Dec. 2012, both in Electrical and Computer Engineering. His research interest lies at the intersection of foundation of data science, machine learning, numerical optimization, and signal/image processing, with focus on developing efficient nonconvex methods and global optimality guarantees for solving representation learning and nonlinear inverse problems in engineering and imaging sciences. He is the recipient of Best Student Paper Award at SPARS’15, and the recipient of Microsoft PhD Fellowship in machine learning in 2016, and best paper awards in NeurIPS Diffusion Model Workshop in 2023. He received the NSF Career Award in 2022, and Amazon Research Award (AWS AI) in 2023. He is the program chair of the new Conference on Parsimony & Learning.


March 28
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Event Category:


HDSI General


Qing Qu
Event Recording Link