Google Research

Regularized Optimal Transport is Ground Cost Adversarial

Proceedings of ICML 2020 (to appear)

Abstract

Regularizing Wasserstein distances has proved to be the key in the recent advances of optimal transport (OT) in machine learning. Most prominent is the entropic regularization of OT, which not only allows for fast computations and differentiation using Sinkhorn algorithm, but also improves stability with respect to data and accuracy in many numerical experiments. Theoretical understanding of these benefits remains unclear, although recent statistical works have shown that entropyregularized OT mitigates classical OT’s curse of dimensionality. In this paper, we adopt a more geometrical point of view, and show using Fenchel duality that any convex regularization of OT can be interpreted as ground cost adversarial. This incidentally gives access to a robust dissimilarity measure on the ground space, which can in turn be used in other applications. We propose algorithms to compute this robust cost, and illustrate the interest of this approach empirically.

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