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Coaching Diffusion Fashions with Reinforcement Studying – The Berkeley Synthetic Intelligence Analysis Weblog

Coaching Diffusion Fashions with Reinforcement Studying

Diffusion fashions have just lately emerged because the de facto customary for producing complicated, high-dimensional outputs. It’s possible you’ll know them for his or her capability to supply gorgeous AI artwork and hyper-realistic artificial photos, however they’ve additionally discovered success in different purposes resembling drug design and steady management. The important thing concept behind diffusion fashions is to iteratively remodel random noise right into a pattern, resembling a picture or protein construction. That is usually motivated as a most chance estimation drawback, the place the mannequin is skilled to generate samples that match the coaching information as intently as potential.

Nonetheless, most use circumstances of diffusion fashions usually are not immediately involved with matching the coaching information, however as a substitute with a downstream goal. We don’t simply need a picture that appears like current photos, however one which has a selected sort of look; we don’t simply need a drug molecule that’s bodily believable, however one that’s as efficient as potential. On this publish, we present how diffusion fashions will be skilled on these downstream aims immediately utilizing reinforcement studying (RL). To do that, we finetune Secure Diffusion on quite a lot of aims, together with picture compressibility, human-perceived aesthetic high quality, and prompt-image alignment. The final of those aims makes use of suggestions from a big vision-language mannequin to enhance the mannequin’s efficiency on uncommon prompts, demonstrating how highly effective AI fashions can be utilized to enhance one another with none people within the loop.

diagram illustrating the RLAIF objective that uses the LLaVA VLM

A diagram illustrating the prompt-image alignment goal. It makes use of LLaVA, a big vision-language mannequin, to guage generated photos.

Denoising Diffusion Coverage Optimization

When turning diffusion into an RL drawback, we make solely essentially the most fundamental assumption: given a pattern (e.g. a picture), now we have entry to a reward perform that we are able to consider to inform us how “good” that pattern is. Our aim is for the diffusion mannequin to generate samples that maximize this reward perform.

Diffusion fashions are usually skilled utilizing a loss perform derived from most chance estimation (MLE), that means they’re inspired to generate samples that make the coaching information look extra probably. Within the RL setting, we not have coaching information, solely samples from the diffusion mannequin and their related rewards. A method we are able to nonetheless use the identical MLE-motivated loss perform is by treating the samples as coaching information and incorporating the rewards by weighting the loss for every pattern by its reward. This offers us an algorithm that we name reward-weighted regression (RWR), after current algorithms from RL literature.

Nonetheless, there are a number of issues with this strategy. One is that RWR isn’t a very actual algorithm — it maximizes the reward solely roughly (see Nair et. al., Appendix A). The MLE-inspired loss for diffusion can be not actual and is as a substitute derived utilizing a variational sure on the true chance of every pattern. Which means RWR maximizes the reward by way of two ranges of approximation, which we discover considerably hurts its efficiency.

chart comparing DDPO with RWR

We consider two variants of DDPO and two variants of RWR on three reward features and discover that DDPO constantly achieves the perfect efficiency.

The important thing perception of our algorithm, which we name denoising diffusion coverage optimization (DDPO), is that we are able to higher maximize the reward of the ultimate pattern if we take note of your entire sequence of denoising steps that obtained us there. To do that, we reframe the diffusion course of as a multi-step Markov determination course of (MDP). In MDP terminology: every denoising step is an motion, and the agent solely will get a reward on the ultimate step of every denoising trajectory when the ultimate pattern is produced. This framework permits us to use many highly effective algorithms from RL literature which might be designed particularly for multi-step MDPs. As an alternative of utilizing the approximate chance of the ultimate pattern, these algorithms use the precise chance of every denoising step, which is extraordinarily straightforward to compute.

We selected to use coverage gradient algorithms attributable to their ease of implementation and previous success in language mannequin finetuning. This led to 2 variants of DDPO: DDPOSF, which makes use of the easy rating perform estimator of the coverage gradient also called REINFORCE; and DDPOIS, which makes use of a extra highly effective significance sampled estimator. DDPOIS is our best-performing algorithm and its implementation intently follows that of proximal coverage optimization (PPO).

Finetuning Secure Diffusion Utilizing DDPO

For our essential outcomes, we finetune Secure Diffusion v1-4 utilizing DDPOIS. Now we have 4 duties, every outlined by a unique reward perform:

  • Compressibility: How straightforward is the picture to compress utilizing the JPEG algorithm? The reward is the adverse file measurement of the picture (in kB) when saved as a JPEG.
  • Incompressibility: How exhausting is the picture to compress utilizing the JPEG algorithm? The reward is the constructive file measurement of the picture (in kB) when saved as a JPEG.
  • Aesthetic High quality: How aesthetically interesting is the picture to the human eye? The reward is the output of the LAION aesthetic predictor, which is a neural community skilled on human preferences.
  • Immediate-Picture Alignment: How effectively does the picture signify what was requested for within the immediate? This one is a little more sophisticated: we feed the picture into LLaVA, ask it to explain the picture, after which compute the similarity between that description and the unique immediate utilizing BERTScore.

Since Secure Diffusion is a text-to-image mannequin, we additionally want to select a set of prompts to offer it throughout finetuning. For the primary three duties, we use easy prompts of the shape “a(n) [animal]”. For prompt-image alignment, we use prompts of the shape “a(n) [animal] [activity]”, the place the actions are “washing dishes”, “enjoying chess”, and “driving a motorcycle”. We discovered that Secure Diffusion usually struggled to supply photos that matched the immediate for these uncommon situations, leaving loads of room for enchancment with RL finetuning.

First, we illustrate the efficiency of DDPO on the easy rewards (compressibility, incompressibility, and aesthetic high quality). The entire photos are generated with the identical random seed. Within the high left quadrant, we illustrate what “vanilla” Secure Diffusion generates for 9 totally different animals; all the RL-finetuned fashions present a transparent qualitative distinction. Curiously, the aesthetic high quality mannequin (high proper) tends in the direction of minimalist black-and-white line drawings, revealing the sorts of photos that the LAION aesthetic predictor considers “extra aesthetic”.

results on aesthetic, compressibility, and incompressibility

Subsequent, we show DDPO on the extra complicated prompt-image alignment process. Right here, we present a number of snapshots from the coaching course of: every collection of three photos reveals samples for a similar immediate and random seed over time, with the primary pattern coming from vanilla Secure Diffusion. Curiously, the mannequin shifts in the direction of a extra cartoon-like model, which was not intentional. We hypothesize that it is because animals doing human-like actions usually tend to seem in a cartoon-like model within the pretraining information, so the mannequin shifts in the direction of this model to extra simply align with the immediate by leveraging what it already is aware of.

results on prompt-image alignment

Sudden Generalization

Stunning generalization has been discovered to come up when finetuning massive language fashions with RL: for instance, fashions finetuned on instruction-following solely in English usually enhance in different languages. We discover that the identical phenomenon happens with text-to-image diffusion fashions. For instance, our aesthetic high quality mannequin was finetuned utilizing prompts that had been chosen from an inventory of 45 widespread animals. We discover that it generalizes not solely to unseen animals but additionally to on a regular basis objects.

aesthetic quality generalization

Our prompt-image alignment mannequin used the identical listing of 45 widespread animals throughout coaching, and solely three actions. We discover that it generalizes not solely to unseen animals but additionally to unseen actions, and even novel combos of the 2.

prompt-image alignment generalization


It’s well-known that finetuning on a reward perform, particularly a realized one, can result in reward overoptimization the place the mannequin exploits the reward perform to realize a excessive reward in a non-useful manner. Our setting is not any exception: in all of the duties, the mannequin finally destroys any significant picture content material to maximise reward.

overoptimization of reward functions

We additionally found that LLaVA is prone to typographic assaults: when optimizing for alignment with respect to prompts of the shape “[n] animals”, DDPO was capable of efficiently idiot LLaVA by as a substitute producing textual content loosely resembling the proper quantity.

RL exploiting LLaVA on the counting task

There’s presently no general-purpose technique for stopping overoptimization, and we spotlight this drawback as an necessary space for future work.


Diffusion fashions are exhausting to beat in the case of producing complicated, high-dimensional outputs. Nonetheless, thus far they’ve principally been profitable in purposes the place the aim is to study patterns from heaps and many information (for instance, image-caption pairs). What we’ve discovered is a method to successfully prepare diffusion fashions in a manner that goes past pattern-matching — and with out essentially requiring any coaching information. The chances are restricted solely by the standard and creativity of your reward perform.

The way in which we used DDPO on this work is impressed by the latest successes of language mannequin finetuning. OpenAI’s GPT fashions, like Secure Diffusion, are first skilled on enormous quantities of Web information; they’re then finetuned with RL to supply helpful instruments like ChatGPT. Sometimes, their reward perform is realized from human preferences, however others have extra just lately found out the best way to produce highly effective chatbots utilizing reward features based mostly on AI suggestions as a substitute. In comparison with the chatbot regime, our experiments are small-scale and restricted in scope. However contemplating the big success of this “pretrain + finetune” paradigm in language modeling, it definitely looks like it’s price pursuing additional on this planet of diffusion fashions. We hope that others can construct on our work to enhance massive diffusion fashions, not only for text-to-image technology, however for a lot of thrilling purposes resembling video technology, music technology,  picture modifying, protein synthesis, robotics, and extra.

Moreover, the “pretrain + finetune” paradigm isn’t the one manner to make use of DDPO. So long as you may have reward perform, there’s nothing stopping you from coaching with RL from the beginning. Whereas this setting is as-yet unexplored, this can be a place the place the strengths of DDPO may actually shine. Pure RL has lengthy been utilized to all kinds of domains starting from enjoying video games to robotic manipulation to nuclear fusion to chip design. Including the highly effective expressivity of diffusion fashions to the combination has the potential to take current purposes of RL to the following degree — and even to find new ones.

This publish is predicated on the next paper:

If you wish to study extra about DDPO, you may take a look at the paper, web site, unique code, or get the mannequin weights on Hugging Face. If you wish to use DDPO in your personal venture, take a look at my PyTorch + LoRA implementation the place you may finetune Secure Diffusion with lower than 10GB of GPU reminiscence!

If DDPO evokes your work, please cite it with:

      title={Coaching Diffusion Fashions with Reinforcement Studying}, 
      writer={Kevin Black and Michael Janner and Yilun Du and Ilya Kostrikov and Sergey Levine},
      12 months={2023},



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