Meta-learning has been proposed as a framework to address the challenging few-shot learning setting. The key idea is to leverage a large number of similar few-shot tasks in order to learn how to adapt a base-learner to a new task for which only a few labeled samples are available. As deep neural networks (DNNs) tend to overfit using a few samples only, meta-learning typically uses shallow neural networks (SNNs), thus limiting its effectiveness. In this paper we propose a novel few-shot learning method called meta-transfer learning (MTL) which learns to adapt a deep NN for few shot learning tasks. Specifically, "meta" refers to training multiple tasks, and "transfer" is achieved by learning scaling and shifting functions of DNN weights for each task. In addition, we introduce the hard task (HT) meta-batch scheme as an effective learning curriculum for MTL. We conduct experiments using (5-class, 1-shot) and (5-class, 5-shot) recognition tasks on two challenging few-shot learning benchmarks: miniImageNet and Fewshot-CIFAR100. Extensive comparisons to related works validate that our meta-transfer learning approach trained with the proposed HT meta-batch scheme achieves top performance. An ablation study also shows that both components contribute to fast convergence and high accuracy.

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小样本学习(Few-Shot Learning,以下简称 FSL )用于解决当可用的数据量比较少时,如何提升神经网络的性能。在 FSL 中,经常用到的一类方法被称为 Meta-learning。和普通的神经网络的训练方法一样,Meta-learning 也包含训练过程和测试过程,但是它的训练过程被称作 Meta-training 和 Meta-testing。

Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) have shown dramatic improvements in single image super-resolution (SISR) by using large-scale external samples. Despite their remarkable performance based on the external dataset, they cannot exploit internal information within a specific image. Another problem is that they are applicable only to the specific condition of data that they are supervised. For instance, the low-resolution (LR) image should be a "bicubic" downsampled noise-free image from a high-resolution (HR) one. To address both issues, zero-shot super-resolution (ZSSR) has been proposed for flexible internal learning. However, they require thousands of gradient updates, i.e., long inference time. In this paper, we present Meta-Transfer Learning for Zero-Shot Super-Resolution (MZSR), which leverages ZSSR. Precisely, it is based on finding a generic initial parameter that is suitable for internal learning. Thus, we can exploit both external and internal information, where one single gradient update can yield quite considerable results. (See Figure 1). With our method, the network can quickly adapt to a given image condition. In this respect, our method can be applied to a large spectrum of image conditions within a fast adaptation process.

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Few-shot image classification aims to classify unseen classes with limited labeled samples. Recent works benefit from the meta-learning process with episodic tasks and can fast adapt to class from training to testing. Due to the limited number of samples for each task, the initial embedding network for meta learning becomes an essential component and can largely affects the performance in practice. To this end, many pre-trained methods have been proposed, and most of them are trained in supervised way with limited transfer ability for unseen classes. In this paper, we proposed to train a more generalized embedding network with self-supervised learning (SSL) which can provide slow and robust representation for downstream tasks by learning from the data itself. We evaluate our work by extensive comparisons with previous baseline methods on two few-shot classification datasets ({\em i.e.,} MiniImageNet and CUB). Based on the evaluation results, the proposed method achieves significantly better performance, i.e., improve 1-shot and 5-shot tasks by nearly \textbf{3\%} and \textbf{4\%} on MiniImageNet, by nearly \textbf{9\%} and \textbf{3\%} on CUB. Moreover, the proposed method can gain the improvement of (\textbf{15\%}, \textbf{13\%}) on MiniImageNet and (\textbf{15\%}, \textbf{8\%}) on CUB by pretraining using more unlabeled data. Our code will be available at \hyperref[https://github.com/phecy/SSL-FEW-SHOT.]{https://github.com/phecy/ssl-few-shot.}

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Meta learning is a promising solution to few-shot learning problems. However, existing meta learning methods are restricted to the scenarios where training and application tasks share the same out-put structure. To obtain a meta model applicable to the tasks with new structures, it is required to collect new training data and repeat the time-consuming meta training procedure. This makes them inefficient or even inapplicable in learning to solve heterogeneous few-shot learning tasks. We thus develop a novel and principled HierarchicalMeta Learning (HML) method. Different from existing methods that only focus on optimizing the adaptability of a meta model to similar tasks, HML also explicitly optimizes its generalizability across heterogeneous tasks. To this end, HML first factorizes a set of similar training tasks into heterogeneous ones and trains the meta model over them at two levels to maximize adaptation and generalization performance respectively. The resultant model can then directly generalize to new tasks. Extensive experiments on few-shot classification and regression problems clearly demonstrate the superiority of HML over fine-tuning and state-of-the-art meta learning approaches in terms of generalization across heterogeneous tasks.

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The quest of `can machines think' and `can machines do what human do' are quests that drive the development of artificial intelligence. Although recent artificial intelligence succeeds in many data intensive applications, it still lacks the ability of learning from limited exemplars and fast generalizing to new tasks. To tackle this problem, one has to turn to machine learning, which supports the scientific study of artificial intelligence. Particularly, a machine learning problem called Few-Shot Learning (FSL) targets at this case. It can rapidly generalize to new tasks of limited supervised experience by turning to prior knowledge, which mimics human's ability to acquire knowledge from few examples through generalization and analogy. It has been seen as a test-bed for real artificial intelligence, a way to reduce laborious data gathering and computationally costly training, and antidote for rare cases learning. With extensive works on FSL emerging, we give a comprehensive survey for it. We first give the formal definition for FSL. Then we point out the core issues of FSL, which turns the problem from "how to solve FSL" to "how to deal with the core issues". Accordingly, existing works from the birth of FSL to the most recent published ones are categorized in a unified taxonomy, with thorough discussion of the pros and cons for different categories. Finally, we envision possible future directions for FSL in terms of problem setup, techniques, applications and theory, hoping to provide insights to both beginners and experienced researchers.

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Few-shot Learning aims to learn classifiers for new classes with only a few training examples per class. Existing meta-learning or metric-learning based few-shot learning approaches are limited in handling diverse domains with various number of labels. The meta-learning approaches train a meta learner to predict weights of homogeneous-structured task-specific networks, requiring a uniform number of classes across tasks. The metric-learning approaches learn one task-invariant metric for all the tasks, and they fail if the tasks diverge. We propose to deal with these limitations with meta metric learning. Our meta metric learning approach consists of task-specific learners, that exploit metric learning to handle flexible labels, and a meta learner, that discovers good parameters and gradient decent to specify the metrics in task-specific learners. Thus the proposed model is able to handle unbalanced classes as well as to generate task-specific metrics. We test our approach in the `$k$-shot $N$-way' few-shot learning setting used in previous work and new realistic few-shot setting with diverse multi-domain tasks and flexible label numbers. Experiments show that our approach attains superior performances in both settings.

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Learning with limited data is a key challenge for visual recognition. Few-shot learning methods address this challenge by learning an instance embedding function from seen classes and apply the function to instances from unseen classes with limited labels. This style of transfer learning is task-agnostic: the embedding function is not learned optimally discriminative with respect to the unseen classes, where discerning among them is the target task. In this paper, we propose a novel approach to adapt the embedding model to the target classification task, yielding embeddings that are task-specific and are discriminative. To this end, we employ a type of self-attention mechanism called Transformer to transform the embeddings from task-agnostic to task-specific by focusing on relating instances from the test instances to the training instances in both seen and unseen classes. Our approach also extends to both transductive and generalized few-shot classification, two important settings that have essential use cases. We verify the effectiveness of our model on two standard benchmark few-shot classification datasets --- MiniImageNet and CUB, where our approach demonstrates state-of-the-art empirical performance.

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Deep learning has made remarkable achievement in many fields. However, learning the parameters of neural networks usually demands a large amount of labeled data. The algorithms of deep learning, therefore, encounter difficulties when applied to supervised learning where only little data are available. This specific task is called few-shot learning. To address it, we propose a novel algorithm for few-shot learning using discrete geometry, in the sense that the samples in a class are modeled as a reduced simplex. The volume of the simplex is used for the measurement of class scatter. During testing, combined with the test sample and the points in the class, a new simplex is formed. Then the similarity between the test sample and the class can be quantized with the ratio of volumes of the new simplex to the original class simplex. Moreover, we present an approach to constructing simplices using local regions of feature maps yielded by convolutional neural networks. Experiments on Omniglot and miniImageNet verify the effectiveness of our simplex algorithm on few-shot learning.

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The key issue of few-shot learning is learning to generalize. In this paper, we propose a large margin principle to improve the generalization capacity of metric based methods for few-shot learning. To realize it, we develop a unified framework to learn a more discriminative metric space by augmenting the softmax classification loss function with a large margin distance loss function for training. Extensive experiments on two state-of-the-art few-shot learning models, graph neural networks and prototypical networks, show that our method can improve the performance of existing models substantially with very little computational overhead, demonstrating the effectiveness of the large margin principle and the potential of our method.

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Meta-learning is a powerful tool that builds on multi-task learning to learn how to quickly adapt a model to new tasks. In the context of reinforcement learning, meta-learning algorithms can acquire reinforcement learning procedures to solve new problems more efficiently by meta-learning prior tasks. The performance of meta-learning algorithms critically depends on the tasks available for meta-training: in the same way that supervised learning algorithms generalize best to test points drawn from the same distribution as the training points, meta-learning methods generalize best to tasks from the same distribution as the meta-training tasks. In effect, meta-reinforcement learning offloads the design burden from algorithm design to task design. If we can automate the process of task design as well, we can devise a meta-learning algorithm that is truly automated. In this work, we take a step in this direction, proposing a family of unsupervised meta-learning algorithms for reinforcement learning. We describe a general recipe for unsupervised meta-reinforcement learning, and describe an effective instantiation of this approach based on a recently proposed unsupervised exploration technique and model-agnostic meta-learning. We also discuss practical and conceptual considerations for developing unsupervised meta-learning methods. Our experimental results demonstrate that unsupervised meta-reinforcement learning effectively acquires accelerated reinforcement learning procedures without the need for manual task design, significantly exceeds the performance of learning from scratch, and even matches performance of meta-learning methods that use hand-specified task distributions.

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Although reinforcement learning methods can achieve impressive results in simulation, the real world presents two major challenges: generating samples is exceedingly expensive, and unexpected perturbations can cause proficient but narrowly-learned policies to fail at test time. In this work, we propose to learn how to quickly and effectively adapt online to new situations as well as to perturbations. To enable sample-efficient meta-learning, we consider learning online adaptation in the context of model-based reinforcement learning. Our approach trains a global model such that, when combined with recent data, the model can be be rapidly adapted to the local context. Our experiments demonstrate that our approach can enable simulated agents to adapt their behavior online to novel terrains, to a crippled leg, and in highly-dynamic environments.

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