Cascaded Diffusion Models for High Fidelity Image Generation

Jonathan Ho
Chitwan Saharia
William Chan
Mohammad Norouzi


We show that cascaded diffusion models are capable of generating high fidelity images on the class-conditional ImageNet generation challenge, without any assistance from auxiliary image classifiers to boost sample quality. A cascaded diffusion model comprises a pipeline of multiple diffusion models that generate images of increasing resolution, beginning with a standard diffusion model at the lowest resolution, followed by one or more super-resolution diffusion models that successively upsample the image and add higher resolution details. We find that the sample quality of a cascading pipeline relies crucially on conditioning augmentation, our proposed method of data augmentation of the lower resolution conditioning inputs to the super-resolution models. Our experiments show that conditioning augmentation prevents compounding error during sampling in a cascaded model, helping us to train cascading pipelines achieving FID scores of 1.48 at 64x64, 3.52 at 128x128 and 4.88 at 256x256 resolutions, outperforming BigGAN-deep, and classification accuracy scores of 63.02% (top-1) and 84.06% (top-5) at 256x256, outperforming VQ-VAE-2.

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