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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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。

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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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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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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This paper studies the problem of generalized zero-shot learning which requires the model to train on image-label pairs from some seen classes and test on the task of classifying new images from both seen and unseen classes. Most previous models try to learn a fixed one-directional mapping between visual and semantic space, while some recently proposed generative methods try to generate image features for unseen classes so that the zero-shot learning problem becomes a traditional fully-supervised classification problem. In this paper, we propose a novel model that provides a unified framework for three different approaches: visual-> semantic mapping, semantic->visual mapping, and metric learning. Specifically, our proposed model consists of a feature generator that can generate various visual features given class embeddings as input, a regressor that maps each visual feature back to its corresponding class embedding, and a discriminator that learns to evaluate the closeness of an image feature and a class embedding. All three components are trained under the combination of cyclic consistency loss and dual adversarial loss. Experimental results show that our model not only preserves higher accuracy in classifying images from seen classes, but also performs better than existing state-of-the-art models in in classifying images from unseen classes.

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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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Large margin nearest neighbor (LMNN) is a metric learner which optimizes the performance of the popular $k$NN classifier. However, its resulting metric relies on pre-selected target neighbors. In this paper, we address the feasibility of LMNN's optimization constraints regarding these target points, and introduce a mathematical measure to evaluate the size of the feasible region of the optimization problem. We enhance the optimization framework of LMNN by a weighting scheme which prefers data triplets which yield a larger feasible region. This increases the chances to obtain a good metric as the solution of LMNN's problem. We evaluate the performance of the resulting feasibility-based LMNN algorithm using synthetic and real datasets. The empirical results show an improved accuracy for different types of datasets in comparison to regular LMNN.

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Prevalent techniques in zero-shot learning do not generalize well to other related problem scenarios. Here, we present a unified approach for conventional zero-shot, generalized zero-shot and few-shot learning problems. Our approach is based on a novel Class Adapting Principal Directions (CAPD) concept that allows multiple embeddings of image features into a semantic space. Given an image, our method produces one principal direction for each seen class. Then, it learns how to combine these directions to obtain the principal direction for each unseen class such that the CAPD of the test image is aligned with the semantic embedding of the true class, and opposite to the other classes. This allows efficient and class-adaptive information transfer from seen to unseen classes. In addition, we propose an automatic process for selection of the most useful seen classes for each unseen class to achieve robustness in zero-shot learning. Our method can update the unseen CAPD taking the advantages of few unseen images to work in a few-shot learning scenario. Furthermore, our method can generalize the seen CAPDs by estimating seen-unseen diversity that significantly improves the performance of generalized zero-shot learning. Our extensive evaluations demonstrate that the proposed approach consistently achieves superior performance in zero-shot, generalized zero-shot and few/one-shot learning problems.

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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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