Deep Generative Models for Synthetic Data: A Survey

Peter Eigenschink, Thomas Reutterer*, Stefan Vamosi, Ralf Vamosi, Chang Sun, Klaudius Kalcher

*Corresponding author for this work

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


A growing interest in synthetic data has stimulated the development and advancement of a large variety of deep generative models for a wide range of applications. However, as this research has progressed, its streams have become more specialized and disconnected from one another. This is why models for synthesizing text data for natural language processing cannot readily be compared to models for synthesizing health records anymore. To mitigate this isolation, we propose a data-driven evaluation framework for generative models for synthetic sequential data, an important and challenging sub-category of synthetic data, based on five high-level criteria: representativeness, novelty, realism, diversity and coherence of a synthetic data-set relative to the original data-set regardless of the models’ internal structures. The criteria reflect requirements different domains impose on synthetic data and allow model users to assess the quality of synthetic data across models. In a critical review of generative models for sequential data, we examine and compare the importance of each performance criterion in numerous domains. We find that realism and coherence are more important for synthetic data natural language, speech and audio processing tasks. At the same time, novelty and representativeness are more important for healthcare and mobility data. We also find that measurement of representativeness is often accomplished using statistical metrics, realism by using human judgement, and novelty using privacy tests.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)47304-47320
JournalIEEE Access
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2023

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