Representation learning has significantly been developed with the advance of contrastive learning methods. Most of those methods have benefited from various data augmentations that are carefully designated to maintain their identities so that the images transformed from the same instance can still be retrieved. However, those carefully designed transformations limited us to further explore the novel patterns exposed by other transformations. Meanwhile, as found in our experiments, the strong augmentations distorted the images' structures, resulting in difficult retrieval. Thus, we propose a general framework called Contrastive Learning with Stronger Augmentations~(CLSA) to complement current contrastive learning approaches. Here, the distribution divergence between the weakly and strongly augmented images over the representation bank is adopted to supervise the retrieval of strongly augmented queries from a pool of instances. Experiments on the ImageNet dataset and downstream datasets showed the information from the strongly augmented images can significantly boost the performance. For example, CLSA achieves top-1 accuracy of 76.2% on ImageNet with a standard ResNet-50 architecture with a single-layer classifier fine-tuned, which is almost the same level as 76.5% of supervised results. The code and pre-trained models are available in https://github.com/maple-research-lab/CLSA.
Self-supervised representation learning has seen remarkable progress in the last few years. More recently, contrastive instance learning has shown impressive results compared to its supervised learning counterparts. However, even with the ever increased interest in contrastive instance learning, it is still largely unclear why these methods work so well. In this paper, we aim to unravel some of the mysteries behind their success, which are the good practices. Through an extensive empirical analysis, we hope to not only provide insights but also lay out a set of best practices that led to the success of recent work in self-supervised representation learning.
For artificial learning systems, continual learning over time from a stream of data is essential. The burgeoning studies on supervised continual learning have achieved great progress, while the study of catastrophic forgetting in unsupervised learning is still blank. Among unsupervised learning methods, self-supervise learning method shows tremendous potential on visual representation without any labeled data at scale. To improve the visual representation of self-supervised learning, larger and more varied data is needed. In the real world, unlabeled data is generated at all times. This circumstance provides a huge advantage for the learning of the self-supervised method. However, in the current paradigm, packing previous data and current data together and training it again is a waste of time and resources. Thus, a continual self-supervised learning method is badly needed. In this paper, we make the first attempt to implement the continual contrastive self-supervised learning by proposing a rehearsal method, which keeps a few exemplars from the previous data. Instead of directly combining saved exemplars with the current data set for training, we leverage self-supervised knowledge distillation to transfer contrastive information among previous data to the current network by mimicking similarity score distribution inferred by the old network over a set of saved exemplars. Moreover, we build an extra sample queue to assist the network to distinguish between previous and current data and prevent mutual interference while learning their own feature representation. Experimental results show that our method performs well on CIFAR100 and ImageNet-Sub. Compared with the baselines, which learning tasks without taking any technique, we improve the image classification top-1 accuracy by 1.60% on CIFAR100, 2.86% on ImageNet-Sub and 1.29% on ImageNet-Full under 10 incremental steps setting.
This paper presents SimCLR: a simple framework for contrastive learning of visual representations. We simplify recently proposed contrastive self-supervised learning algorithms without requiring specialized architectures or a memory bank. In order to understand what enables the contrastive prediction tasks to learn useful representations, we systematically study the major components of our framework. We show that (1) composition of data augmentations plays a critical role in defining effective predictive tasks, (2) introducing a learnable nonlinear transformation between the representation and the contrastive loss substantially improves the quality of the learned representations, and (3) contrastive learning benefits from larger batch sizes and more training steps compared to supervised learning. By combining these findings, we are able to considerably outperform previous methods for self-supervised and semi-supervised learning on ImageNet. A linear classifier trained on self-supervised representations learned by SimCLR achieves 76.5% top-1 accuracy, which is a 7% relative improvement over previous state-of-the-art, matching the performance of a supervised ResNet-50. When fine-tuned on only 1% of the labels, we achieve 85.8% top-5 accuracy, outperforming AlexNet with 100X fewer labels.
We investigate a strategy for improving the computational efficiency of contrastive learning of visual representations by leveraging a small amount of supervised information during pre-training. We propose a semi-supervised loss, SuNCEt, based on noise-contrastive estimation, that aims to distinguish examples of different classes in addition to the self-supervised instance-wise pretext tasks. We find that SuNCEt can be used to match the semi-supervised learning accuracy of previous contrastive approaches with significantly less computational effort. Our main insight is that leveraging even a small amount of labeled data during pre-training, and not only during fine-tuning, provides an important signal that can significantly accelerate contrastive learning of visual representations.