Casey Chu

Casey Chu

Hello! I’m a researcher at OpenAI, working on multimodal AI systems. Let’s chat sometime!

Previously, I was a PhD student in computational math at Stanford University (although I left early), and a math major at Harvey Mudd College. Find me on Twitter, GitHub, or Stack Overflow.

GPT-4

2023

GPT-4 is a large multimodal model (accepting image and text inputs, emitting text outputs) that, while less capable than humans in many real-world scenarios, exhibits human-level performance on various professional and academic benchmarks, including passing a simulated bar exam with a score around the top 10% of test takers. GPT-4 is a Transformer-based model pre-trained to predict the next token in a document. The post-training alignment process results in improved performance on measures of factuality and adherence to desired behavior. A core component of this project was developing infrastructure and optimization methods that behave predictably across a wide range of scales. This allowed us to accurately predict some aspects of GPT-4’s performance based on models trained with no more than 1/1,000th the compute of GPT-4.

DALL·E 2: Hierarchical Text-Conditional Image Generation

with CLIP Latents

with CLIP Latents

2022

DALL·E 2 can create original, realistic images and art from a text description. It is capable of combining concepts, attributes, and styles. We propose a two-stage model: a prior that generates a CLIP image embedding given a text caption, and a decoder that generates an image conditioned on the image embedding. We show that explicitly generating image representations improves image diversity with minimal loss in photorealism and caption similarity. Our decoders conditioned on image representations can also produce variations of an image that preserve both its semantics and style, while varying the non-essential details absent from the image representation. Moreover, the joint embedding space of CLIP enables language-guided image manipulations in a zero-shot fashion. We use diffusion models for the decoder and experiment with both autoregressive and diffusion models for the prior, finding that the latter are computationally more efficient and produce higher-quality samples.

The equivalence between Stein variational gradient descent and black-box variational inference

2020

ICLR 2020 DeepDiffEq Workshop

We formalize an equivalence between two popular methods for Bayesian inference: Stein variational gradient descent (SVGD) and black-box variational inference (BBVI). In particular, we show that BBVI corresponds precisely to SVGD when the kernel is the neural tangent kernel. Furthermore, we interpret SVGD and BBVI as kernel gradient flows; we do this by leveraging the recent perspective that views SVGD as a gradient flow in the space of probability distributions and showing that BBVI naturally motivates a Riemannian structure on that space. We observe that kernel gradient flow also describes dynamics found in the training of generative adversarial networks (GANs). This work thereby unifies several existing techniques in variational inference and generative modeling and identifies the kernel as a fundamental object governing the behavior of these algorithms, motivating deeper analysis of its properties.

Smoothness and Stability in GANs

2020

ICLR 2020

Generative adversarial networks, or GANs, commonly display unstable behavior during training. In this work, we develop a principled theoretical framework for understanding the stability of various types of GANs. In particular, we derive conditions that guarantee eventual stationarity of the generator when it is trained with gradient descent, conditions that must be satisfied by the divergence that is minimized by the GAN and the generator's architecture. We find that existing GAN variants satisfy some, but not all, of these conditions. Using tools from convex analysis, optimal transport, and reproducing kernels, we construct a GAN that fulfills these conditions simultaneously. In the process, we explain and clarify the need for various existing GAN stabilization techniques, including Lipschitz constraints, gradient penalties, and smooth activation functions.

Probability Functional Descent: A Unifying Perspective on GANs, Variational Inference, and Reinforcement Learning

2019

ICML 2019

This paper provides a unifying view of a wide range of problems of interest in machine learning by framing them as the minimization of functionals defined on the space of probability measures. In particular, we show that generative adversarial networks, variational inference, and actor-critic methods in reinforcement learning can all be seen through the lens of our framework. We then discuss a generic optimization algorithm for our formulation, called probability functional descent (PFD), and show how this algorithm recovers existing methods developed independently in the settings mentioned earlier.

CycleGAN, a Master of Steganography

2017

NIPS 2017 Workshop on Machine Deception

CycleGAN (Zhu et al. 2017) is one recent successful approach to learn a transformation between two image distributions. In a series of experiments, we demonstrate an intriguing property of the model: CycleGAN learns to "hide" information about a source image into the images it generates in a nearly imperceptible, high-frequency signal. This trick ensures that the generator can recover the original sample and thus satisfy the cyclic consistency requirement, while the generated image remains realistic. We connect this phenomenon with adversarial attacks by viewing CycleGAN's training procedure as training a generator of adversarial examples and demonstrate that the cyclic consistency loss causes CycleGAN to be especially vulnerable to adversarial attacks.

A Bayesian trains a classifier

November 2018

Perspectives on the variational autoencoder

November 2018

The principle of maximum entropy

July 2018

Flavors of Wasserstein GAN

March 2018

Why does algebra work?

January 2013

The Dirichlet function in closed form

March 2012