Define generative model#


The term is popular. Does it provide a useful abstraction?


In practice#

The term is part of the name GAN, which is a model, so it must be one (at least to the author in 2014):

According to OpenAI (2016), a generative model is:

This commentator defines both VAE and GAN as generative models:

A simple and up-to-date definition:

According to SR2, all Bayesian models are generative. It’s likely the word “generative” was initially created to provide a hypernym (umbrella term) for both Bayesian models and GANs, which both generate observations (later AR models like PixelRNN were added to the mix).

Tertiary definition#

In the following article, Wikipedia defines (going back to 2002, 2004 references) what a generative model is and at least two things it is not:

See also: