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Generalized Schrödinger Bridge Matching

Guan-Horng Liu · Yaron Lipman · Maximilian Nickel · Brian Karrer · Evangelos Theodorou · Ricky T. Q. Chen

Halle B #76
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Tue 7 May 7:30 a.m. PDT — 9:30 a.m. PDT


Modern distribution matching algorithms for training diffusion or flow models directly prescribe the time evolution of the marginal distributions between two boundary distributions. In this work, we consider a generalized distribution matching setup, where these marginals are only implicitly described as a solution to some task-specific objective function. The problem setup, known as the Generalized Schrödinger Bridge (GSB), appears prevalently in many scientific areas both within and without machine learning. We propose Generalized Schödinger Bridge Matching (GSBM), a new matching algorithm inspired by recent advances, generalizing them beyond kinetic energy minimization and to account for nonlinear state costs. We show that such a generalization can be cast as solving conditional stochastic optimal control, for which efficient variational approximations can be used, and further debiased with the aid of path integral theory. Compared to prior methods for solving GSB problems, our GSBM algorithm always preserves a feasible transport map between the boundary distributions throughout training, thereby enabling stable convergence and significantly improved scalability. We empirically validate our claims on an extensive suite of experimental setups, including crowd navigation, opinion depolarization, LiDAR manifolds, and image domain transfer. Our work brings new algorithmic opportunities for training diffusion models enhanced with task-specific optimality structures.

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