Towards Generalized Implementation of Wasserstein Distance in GANs


  • Minkai Xu University of Montreal


Unsupervised & Self-Supervised Learning


Wasserstein GANs (WGANs), built upon the Kantorovich-Rubinstein (KR) duality of Wasserstein distance, is one of the most theoretically sound GAN models. However, in practice it does not always outperform other variants of GANs. This is mostly due to the imperfect implementation of the Lipschitz condition required by the KR duality. Extensive work has been done in the community with different implementations of the Lipschitz constraint, which, however, is still hard to satisfy the restriction perfectly in practice. In this paper, we argue that the strong Lipschitz constraint might be unnecessary for optimization. Instead, we take a step back and try to relax the Lipschitz constraint. Theoretically, we first demonstrate a more general dual form of the Wasserstein distance called the Sobolev duality, which relaxes the Lipschitz constraint but still maintains the favorable gradient property of the Wasserstein distance. Moreover, we show that the KR duality is actually a special case of the Sobolev duality. Based on the relaxed duality, we further propose a generalized WGAN training scheme named Sobolev Wasserstein GAN, and empirically demonstrate the improvement over existing methods with extensive experiments.




How to Cite

Xu, M. (2021). Towards Generalized Implementation of Wasserstein Distance in GANs. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 35(12), 10514-10522. Retrieved from



AAAI Technical Track on Machine Learning V