Neural ODE Processes

Alexander Norcliffe · Cristian Bodnar · Ben Day · Jacob Moss · Pietro LiĆ²

Keywords: [ deep learning ] [ neural processes ] [ differential equations ] [ dynamics ] [ Neural ODE ]


Neural Ordinary Differential Equations (NODEs) use a neural network to model the instantaneous rate of change in the state of a system. However, despite their apparent suitability for dynamics-governed time-series, NODEs present a few disadvantages. First, they are unable to adapt to incoming data-points, a fundamental requirement for real-time applications imposed by the natural direction of time. Second, time-series are often composed of a sparse set of measurements that could be explained by many possible underlying dynamics. NODEs do not capture this uncertainty. In contrast, Neural Processes (NPs) are a new class of stochastic processes providing uncertainty estimation and fast data-adaptation, but lack an explicit treatment of the flow of time. To address these problems, we introduce Neural ODE Processes (NDPs), a new class of stochastic processes determined by a distribution over Neural ODEs. By maintaining an adaptive data-dependent distribution over the underlying ODE, we show that our model can successfully capture the dynamics of low-dimensional systems from just a few data-points. At the same time, we demonstrate that NDPs scale up to challenging high-dimensional time-series with unknown latent dynamics such as rotating MNIST digits.

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