Taming GANs with Lookahead-Minmax

Generative Adversarial Networks are notoriously challenging to train. The underlying minmax optimization is highly susceptible to the variance of the stochastic gradient and the rotational component of the associated game vector field. To tackle these challenges, we propose the Lookahead algorithm for minmax optimization, originally developed for single objective minimization only. The backtracking step of our Lookahead–minmax naturally handles the rotational game dynamics, a property which was identified to be key for enabling gradient ascent descent methods to converge on challenging examples often analyzed in the literature. Moreover, it implicitly handles high variance without using large mini-batches, known to be essential for reaching state of the art performance. Experimental results on MNIST, SVHN, CIFAR-10, and ImageNet demonstrate a clear advantage of combining Lookahead–minmax with Adam or extragradient, in terms of performance and improved stability, for negligible memory and computational cost. Using 30-fold fewer parameters and 16-fold smaller minibatches we outperform the reported performance of the class-dependent BigGAN on CIFAR-10 by obtaining FID of 12.19 without using the class labels, bringing state-of-the-art GAN training within reach of common computational resources.