Probabilistic Optimal Transport based on Collective Graphical Models

by   Yasunori Akagi, et al.

Optimal Transport (OT) is being widely used in various fields such as machine learning and computer vision, as it is a powerful tool for measuring the similarity between probability distributions and histograms. In previous studies, OT has been defined as the minimum cost to transport probability mass from one probability distribution to another. In this study, we propose a new framework in which OT is considered as a maximum a posteriori (MAP) solution of a probabilistic generative model. With the proposed framework, we show that OT with entropic regularization is equivalent to maximizing a posterior probability of a probabilistic model called Collective Graphical Model (CGM), which describes aggregated statistics of multiple samples generated from a graphical model. Interpreting OT as a MAP solution of a CGM has the following two advantages: (i) We can calculate the discrepancy between noisy histograms by modeling noise distributions. Since various distributions can be used for noise modeling, it is possible to select the noise distribution flexibly to suit the situation. (ii) We can construct a new method for interpolation between histograms, which is an important application of OT. The proposed method allows for intuitive modeling based on the probabilistic interpretations, and a simple and efficient estimation algorithm is available. Experiments using synthetic and real-world spatio-temporal population datasets show the effectiveness of the proposed interpolation method.


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