BatchSampler: Sampling Mini-Batches for Contrastive Learning in Vision, Language, and Graphs


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In-Batch contrastive learning is a state-of-the-art self-supervised method that brings semantically-similar instances close while pushing dissimilar instances apart within a mini-batch. Its key to success is the negative sharing strategy, in which every instance serves as a negative for the others within the mini-batch. Recent studies aim to improve performance by sampling hard negatives \textit{within the current mini-batch}, whose quality is bounded by the mini-batch itself. In this work, we propose to improve contrastive learning by sampling mini-batches from the input data. We present BatchSampler\footnote{The code is available at \url{}} to sample mini-batches of hard-to-distinguish (i.e., hard and true negatives to each other) instances. To make each mini-batch have fewer false negatives, we design the proximity graph of randomly-selected instances. To form the mini-batch, we leverage random walk with restart on the proximity graph to help sample hard-to-distinguish instances. BatchSampler is a simple and general technique that can be directly plugged into existing contrastive learning models in vision, language, and graphs. Extensive experiments on datasets of three modalities show that BatchSampler can consistently improve the performance of powerful contrastive models, as shown by significant improvements of SimCLR on ImageNet-100, SimCSE on STS (language), and GraphCL and MVGRL on graph datasets.
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