COMET flows: Towards generative modeling of multivariate extremes and tail dependence, Andrew McDonald, Pang-Ning Tan, Lifeng Luo. Proceedings of the thirty-first international joint conference on artificial intelligence(2022)


Normalizing flows—a popular class of deep generative models—often fail to represent extreme phenomena observed in real-world processes. In particular, existing normalizing flow architectures struggle to model multivariate extremes, characterized by heavy-tailed marginal distributions and asymmetric tail dependence among variables. In light of this shortcoming, we propose COMET (COpula Multivariate ExTreme) Flows, which decompose the process of modeling a joint distribution into two parts: (i) modeling its marginal distributions, and (ii) modeling its copula distribution. COMET Flows capture heavy-tailed marginal distributions by combining a parametric tail belief at extreme quantiles of the marginals with an empirical kernel density function at mid-quantiles. In addition, COMET Flows capture asymmetric tail dependence among multivariate extremes by viewing such dependence as inducing a low-dimensional manifold structure in feature space. Experimental results on both synthetic and real-world datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of COMET flows in capturing both heavy-tailed marginals and asymmetric tail dependence compared to other state-of-the-art baseline architectures. All code is available at