Learning disentangled representations of real-world data is a challenging open problem. Most previous methods have focused on either supervised approaches which use attribute labels or unsupervised approaches that manipulate the factorization in the latent space of models such as the variational autoencoder (VAE) by training with task-specific losses. In this work, we propose polarized-VAE, an approach that disentangles select attributes in the latent space based on proximity measures reflecting the similarity between data points with respect to these attributes. We apply our method to disentangle the semantics and syntax of sentences and carry out transfer experiments. Polarized-VAE outperforms the VAE baseline and is competitive with state-of-the-art approaches, while being more a general framework that is applicable to other attribute disentanglement tasks.


      title={Polarized-VAE: Proximity Based Disentangled Representation Learning for Text Generation}, 
      author={Vikash Balasubramanian and Ivan Kobyzev and Hareesh Bahuleyan and Ilya Shapiro and Olga    Vechtomova},