Unleashing Transformers: Parallel Token Prediction with Discrete Absorbing Diffusion for Fast High-Resolution Image Generation from Vector-Quantized Codes

Sam Bond-Taylor, Peter Hessey, Hiroshi Sasaki, Toby P. Breckon, Chris G. Willcocks ;


"Whilst diffusion probabilistic models can generate high quality image content, key limitations remain in terms of both generating high-resolution imagery and their associated high computational requirements. Recent Vector-Quantized image models have overcome this limitation of image resolution but are prohibitively slow and unidirectional as they generate tokens via element-wise autoregressive sampling from the prior. By contrast, in this paper we propose a novel discrete diffusion probabilistic model prior which enables parallel prediction of Vector-Quantized tokens by using an unconstrained Transformer architecture as the backbone. During training, tokens are randomly masked in an order-agnostic manner and the Transformer learns to predict the original tokens. This parallelism of Vector-Quantized token prediction in turn facilitates unconditional generation of globally consistent high-resolution and diverse imagery at a fraction of the computational expense. In this manner, we can generate image resolutions exceeding that of the original training set samples whilst additionally provisioning per-image likelihood estimates (in a departure from generative adversarial approaches). Our approach achieves state-of-the-art results in terms of the manifold overlap metrics Coverage (LSUN Bedroom: 0.83; LSUN Churches: 0.73; FFHQ: 0.80) and Density (LSUN Bedroom: 1.51; LSUN Churches: 1.12; FFHQ: 1.20), and performs competitively on FID (LSUN Bedroom: 3.64; LSUN Churches: 4.07; FFHQ: 6.11) whilst offering advantages in terms of both computation and reduced training set requirements."

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