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Better Latent Spaces for Better Autoencoders

by Barry M. Dillon, Tilman Plehn, Christof Sauer, Peter Sorrenson

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Submission summary

Authors (as registered SciPost users): Barry Dillon · Tilman Plehn
Submission information
Preprint Link:  (pdf)
Code repository:
Date accepted: 2021-08-12
Date submitted: 2021-05-12 15:19
Submitted by: Dillon, Barry
Submitted to: SciPost Physics
Ontological classification
Academic field: Physics
  • High-Energy Physics - Phenomenology
Approaches: Computational, Phenomenological


Autoencoders as tools behind anomaly searches at the LHC have the structural problem that they only work in one direction, extracting jets with higher complexity but not the other way around. To address this, we derive classifiers from the latent space of (variational) autoencoders, specifically in Gaussian mixture and Dirichlet latent spaces. In particular, the Dirichlet setup solves the problem and improves both the performance and the interpretability of the networks.

Published as SciPost Phys. 11, 061 (2021)

Reports on this Submission

Anonymous Report 1 on 2021-7-26 (Invited Report)

  • Cite as: Anonymous, Report on arXiv:2104.08291v1, delivered 2021-07-25, doi: 10.21468/SciPost.Report.3293


1. Well motivated, and excellent description of the motivation.
2. Topical, as illustrated by the other papers that were coordinated with this one.
3. Very clearly described methodology and ML structure.
4. Very nicely formatted, clear plots, a pleasure to read.


1. Maybe it would have been worthwhile to come up with a concrete signal that might have been missed by existing searches but discovered by a strategy taking advantage of these VAEs.


This is an excellent and very topical paper which will be of great value to the particle physics machine learning community, and I wholeheartedly recommend it for publication. I think there is a lot more to do be done in understanding how the structure of probabilistic latent spaces can be used for unsupervised event classification, and this paper is likely to inspire future work on the topic.

Requested changes


  • validity: high
  • significance: good
  • originality: good
  • clarity: top
  • formatting: perfect
  • grammar: perfect

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