Contrastive Predictive Coding

Contrastive Predictive Coding, aka CPC, is an autoregressive model combined with InfoNCE loss1.

There are two key ideas in CPC:

  • Autoregressive models in latent space, and
  • InfoNCE loss that combines mutual information and [[NCE]] Noise Contrastive Estimation: NCE Noise contrastive estimation (NCE) objective function is1 $$ \mathcal L = \mathbb E_{x, x^{+}, x^{-}} \left[ - \ln \frac{ C(x, x^{+})}{ C(x,x^{+}) + C(x,x^{-}) } \right], $$ where $x^{+}$ represents data similar to $x$, $x^{-}$ represents data dissimilar to $x$, $C(\cdot, \cdot)$ is a function to compute the similarities. For example, we can use $$ C(x, x^{+}) = e^{ f(x)^T f(x^{+}) }, $$ so that the objective function becomes $$ \mathcal L = \mathbb E_{x, x^{+}, x^{-}} \left[ - \ln \frac{ e^{ … .

For the series of segments, ${x_t}$, we apply an encoder on each segment, and calculate the latent space, ${{\color{blue}\hat x_t}}$. The latent space ${{\color{blue}\hat x_t}}$ is then modeled using an autoregressive model to calculate the coding, ${{\color{red}c_t}}$.

van den Oord et al

van den Oord et al

The loss is built on NCE to estimate the lower bound of mutual information,

$$ \mathcal L = -\mathbb E_X \left[ \log \frac{f_k(x_{t+k}, c_t)}{\sum_{j} f_k(x_{j}, c_t) } \right], $$

where $f_k(x_{x+i}, c_t)$ is estimated using a log-bilinear model, $f_k(x_{x+i}, c_t) = \exp\left( z_{t+i} W_i c_t \right)$. This is also a cross entropy loss.

Minimizing $\mathcal L$ leads to a $f_k$ that estimates the ratio1

$$ \frac{p(x_{t+k}\mid c_t)}{p(x_{t+k})} = \frac{p(x_{t+k}, c_t)}{p(x_{t+k})p(c_t)}. $$

We can perform downstream tasks such as classifications using the encoders.

Maximizing this lower bound?

This so-called lower bound for mutual information in this case is not always going to work[^Newell2020]. In some cases, the representations learned using this lower bound doesn’t help or even worsen the performance of downstream tasks.



Planted: by ;

L Ma (2021). 'Contrastive Predictive Coding', Datumorphism, 09 April. Available at: