Google Research

Neural Networks Optimally Compress the Sawbridge

2021 Data Compression Conf. (DCC) (to appear)


Neural-network-based compressors have proven to be remarkably effective at compressing those sources, such as images, that are nominally high-dimensional but presumed to be concentrated on a low-dimensional manifold. We consider a continuous-time random process that models an extreme version of such a source, wherein the realizations fall along a one-dimensional "curve" in function space that has infinite-dimensional linear span. We precisely characterize the optimal entropy-distortion tradeoff for this source and show numerically that it achieved by neural-network-based compressors trained with stochastic gradient descent. In contrast, we show both analytically and experimentally that classical compressors based on the Karhunen-Loève transform are highly suboptimal at high rates.

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