Entropy-regularized optimal transport on multivariate normal and q-normal distributions

Qijun Tong, Kei Kobayashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The distance and divergence of the probability measures play a central role in statistics, machine learning, and many other related fields. The Wasserstein distance has received much attention in recent years because of its distinctions from other distances or divergences. Although computing the Wasserstein distance is costly, entropy-regularized optimal transport was proposed to computationally efficiently approximate the Wasserstein distance. The purpose of this study is to understand the theoretical aspect of entropy-regularized optimal transport. In this paper, we focus on entropy-regularized optimal transport on multivariate normal distributions and q-normal distributions. We obtain the explicit form of the entropy-regularized optimal transport cost on multivariate normal and q-normal distributions; this provides a perspective to understand the effect of entropy regularization, which was previously known only experimentally. Furthermore, we obtain the entropy-regularized Kantorovich estimator for the probability measure that satisfies certain conditions. We also demonstrate how the Wasserstein distance, optimal coupling, geometric structure, and statistical efficiency are affected by entropy regularization in some experiments. In particular, our results about the explicit form of the optimal coupling of the Tsallis entropy-regularized optimal transport on multivariate q-normal distributions and the entropy-regularized Kantorovich estimator are novel and will become the first step towards the understanding of a more general setting.

Original languageEnglish
Article number302
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Mar


  • Entropy regularization
  • Optimal transportation
  • Q-normal distribution
  • Tsallis entropy
  • Wasserstein distance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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