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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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。

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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This paper presents a hardness-aware deep metric learning (HDML) framework. Most previous deep metric learning methods employ the hard negative mining strategy to alleviate the lack of informative samples for training. However, this mining strategy only utilizes a subset of training data, which may not be enough to characterize the global geometry of the embedding space comprehensively. To address this problem, we perform linear interpolation on embeddings to adaptively manipulate their hard levels and generate corresponding label-preserving synthetics for recycled training, so that information buried in all samples can be fully exploited and the metric is always challenged with proper difficulty. Our method achieves very competitive performance on the widely used CUB-200-2011, Cars196, and Stanford Online Products datasets.

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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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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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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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We study few-shot learning in natural language domains. Compared to many existing works that apply either metric-based or optimization-based meta-learning to image domain with low inter-task variance, we consider a more realistic setting, where tasks are diverse. However, it imposes tremendous difficulties to existing state-of-the-art metric-based algorithms since a single metric is insufficient to capture complex task variations in natural language domain. To alleviate the problem, we propose an adaptive metric learning approach that automatically determines the best weighted combination from a set of metrics obtained from meta-training tasks for a newly seen few-shot task. Extensive quantitative evaluations on real-world sentiment analysis and dialog intent classification datasets demonstrate that the proposed method performs favorably against state-of-the-art few shot learning algorithms in terms of predictive accuracy. We make our code and data available for further study.

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Metric learning learns a metric function from training data to calculate the similarity or distance between samples. From the perspective of feature learning, metric learning essentially learns a new feature space by feature transformation (e.g., Mahalanobis distance metric). However, traditional metric learning algorithms are shallow, which just learn one metric space (feature transformation). Can we further learn a better metric space from the learnt metric space? In other words, can we learn metric progressively and nonlinearly like deep learning by just using the existing metric learning algorithms? To this end, we present a hierarchical metric learning scheme and implement an online deep metric learning framework, namely ODML. Specifically, we take one online metric learning algorithm as a metric layer, followed by a nonlinear layer (i.e., ReLU), and then stack these layers modelled after the deep learning. The proposed ODML enjoys some nice properties, indeed can learn metric progressively and performs superiorly on some datasets. Various experiments with different settings have been conducted to verify these properties of the proposed ODML.

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Learning similarity functions between image pairs with deep neural networks yields highly correlated activations of embeddings. In this work, we show how to improve the robustness of such embeddings by exploiting the independence within ensembles. To this end, we divide the last embedding layer of a deep network into an embedding ensemble and formulate training this ensemble as an online gradient boosting problem. Each learner receives a reweighted training sample from the previous learners. Further, we propose two loss functions which increase the diversity in our ensemble. These loss functions can be applied either for weight initialization or during training. Together, our contributions leverage large embedding sizes more effectively by significantly reducing correlation of the embedding and consequently increase retrieval accuracy of the embedding. Our method works with any differentiable loss function and does not introduce any additional parameters during test time. We evaluate our metric learning method on image retrieval tasks and show that it improves over state-of-the-art methods on the CUB 200-2011, Cars-196, Stanford Online Products, In-Shop Clothes Retrieval and VehicleID datasets.

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In multi-task learning, a learner is given a collection of prediction tasks and needs to solve all of them. In contrast to previous work, which required that annotated training data is available for all tasks, we consider a new setting, in which for some tasks, potentially most of them, only unlabeled training data is provided. Consequently, to solve all tasks, information must be transferred between tasks with labels and tasks without labels. Focusing on an instance-based transfer method we analyze two variants of this setting: when the set of labeled tasks is fixed, and when it can be actively selected by the learner. We state and prove a generalization bound that covers both scenarios and derive from it an algorithm for making the choice of labeled tasks (in the active case) and for transferring information between the tasks in a principled way. We also illustrate the effectiveness of the algorithm by experiments on synthetic and real data.

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