# Learning by Association - A versatile semi-supervised training method for neural networks

CVPR, 2017.

EI

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Abstract:

In many real-world scenarios, labeled data for a specific machine learning task is costly to obtain. Semi-supervised training methods make use of abundantly available unlabeled data and a smaller number of labeled examples. We propose a new framework for semi-supervised training of deep neural networks inspired by learning in humans. Asso...More

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Introduction

- A child is able to learn new concepts quickly and without the need for millions examples that are pointed out individually.
- In terms of training computers to perform similar tasks, deep neural networks have demonstrated superior performance among machine learning models ([20, 18, 10]).
- These networks have been trained dramatically differently from a learning child, requiring labels for every training example, following a purely supervised training scheme.
- It is desirable to train machine learning models without labels or with only some fraction of the data labeled

Highlights

- A child is able to learn new concepts quickly and without the need for millions examples that are pointed out individually
- Neural networks are defined by huge amounts of parameters to be optimized
- The testing protocol suggested by the data set creators, we do not want to claim state of the art for this experiment but do consider it a promising result. [13] achieved 76.3% following the proposed protocol
- A meerkat looking to the right is associated with a dog looking in the same direction or with a racoon with dark spots around the eyes
- We have demonstrated how adding unlabeled data improves results dramatically, in particular when the number of labeled samples is small, surpassing state of the art for Street View House Numbers with 500 labeled samples
- We have proposed a novel semi-supervised training scheme that is fully differentiable and easy to add to existing end-to-end settings

Methods

- Figure 4 shows the 5 nearest neighbors for samples from the unlabeled training set.
- The cosine similarity is shown in the top left corner of each association.
- Note that these numbers are not softmaxed.
- Embeddings of classes not present in the labeled training set do not seem to group together well; rather, they tend to be close to known class

Results

- For cases with few labeled data, the training scheme outperforms the current state of the art on SVHN.
- Extensive experiments demonstrating that the proposed method improves performance by up to 64% compared to the purely supervised case

Conclusion

- The authors have proposed a novel semi-supervised training scheme that is fully differentiable and easy to add to existing end-to-end settings.
- The key idea is to encourage cycle-consistent association chains from embeddings of la-

Summary

## Introduction:

A child is able to learn new concepts quickly and without the need for millions examples that are pointed out individually.- In terms of training computers to perform similar tasks, deep neural networks have demonstrated superior performance among machine learning models ([20, 18, 10]).
- These networks have been trained dramatically differently from a learning child, requiring labels for every training example, following a purely supervised training scheme.
- It is desirable to train machine learning models without labels or with only some fraction of the data labeled
## Methods:

Figure 4 shows the 5 nearest neighbors for samples from the unlabeled training set.- The cosine similarity is shown in the top left corner of each association.
- Note that these numbers are not softmaxed.
- Embeddings of classes not present in the labeled training set do not seem to group together well; rather, they tend to be close to known class
## Results:

For cases with few labeled data, the training scheme outperforms the current state of the art on SVHN.- Extensive experiments demonstrating that the proposed method improves performance by up to 64% compared to the purely supervised case
## Conclusion:

The authors have proposed a novel semi-supervised training scheme that is fully differentiable and easy to add to existing end-to-end settings.- The key idea is to encourage cycle-consistent association chains from embeddings of la-

- Table1: Results on MNIST. Error (%) on the test set (lower is better). Standard deviations in parentheses. †: Results on permutationinvariant MNIST
- Table2: Results of comparable methods on SVHN. Error (%) on the test set (lower is better). Standard deviations in parentheses. *) Results provided by authors
- Table3: Results on SVHN with different amounts of (total) labeled/unlabeled training data. Error (%) on the test set (lower is better). Standard deviations in parentheses
- Table4: Effect of visit loss. Error (%) on the resp. test sets (lower is better) for different values of visit loss weight. Reported are the medians of the minimum error rates throughout training with standard deviation in parentheses. Experiments were run with 1,000 randomly chosen labeled samples as supervised data set
- Table5: Domain adaptation. Errors (%) on the target test sets (lower is better). “Source only” and “target only” refers to training only on the respective data set without domain adaptation. “DA” and “DS” stand for Domain-Adversarial Training and Domain Separation Networks, resp. The numbers in parentheses indicate how much of the gap between lower and upper bounds was covered

Related work

- The challenge of harnessing unlabeled data for training of neural networks has been tackled using a variety of different methods. Although this work follows a semi-supervised approach, it is in its motivation also related to purely unsupervised methods. A third category of related work is constituted by generative approaches.

2.1. Semi-supervised training

The semi-supervised training paradigm has not been among the most popular methods for neural networks in the past. It has been successfully applied to SVMs [14] where unlabeled samples serve as additional regularizers in that decision boundaries are required to have a broad margin also to unlabeled samples.

One training scheme applicable to neural nets is to bootstrap the model with additional labeled data obtained from the model’s own predictions. [22] introduce pseudo-labels for unlabeled samples which are simply the class with the maximum predicted probability. Labeled and unlabeled samples are then trained on simultaneously. In combination with a denoising auto-encoder and dropout, this approach yields competitive results on MNIST.

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