Is Support Set Diversity Necessary for Meta-Learning?

NeurIPS 2020

Is Support Set Diversity Necessary for Meta-Learning?

Dec 06, 2020
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Meta-learning is a popular framework for learning with limited data in which an algorithm is produced by training over multiple few-shot learning tasks. For classification problems, these tasks are typically constructed by sampling a small number of support and query examples from a subset of the classes. While conventional wisdom is that task diversity should improve the performance of meta-learning, in this work we find evidence to the contrary: we propose a modification to traditional meta-learning approaches in which we keep the support sets fixed across tasks, thus reducing task diversity. Surprisingly, we find that not only does this modification not result in adverse effects, it almost always improves the performance for a variety of datasets and meta-learning methods. We also provide several initial analyses to understand this phenomenon. Our work serves to: (i) more closely investigate the effect of support set construction for the problem of meta-learning, and (ii) suggest a simple, general, and competitive baseline for few-shot learning. Speakers: Amrith Setlur, Oscar Li, Virginia Smith

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