Unsupervised Data Augmentation for Consistency Training

NeurIPS 2020

Despite much success, deep learning generally does not perform well with small labeled training sets. In these scenarios, data augmentation has shown much promise in alleviating the need for more labeled data, but it so far has mostly been applied in supervised settings and achieved limited gains. In this work, we propose to apply data augmentation to unlabeled data in a semi-supervised learning setting. Our method, named Unsupervised Data Augmentation or UDA, encourages the model predictions to be consistent between an unlabeled example and an augmented unlabeled example. Unlike previous methods that use random noise such as Gaussian noise or dropout noise, UDA has a small twist in that it makes use of harder and more realistic noise generated by state-of-the-art data augmentation methods. This small twist leads to substantial improvements on six language tasks and three vision tasks even when the labeled set is extremely small. For example, on the IMDb text classification dataset, with only 20 labeled examples, UDA achieves an error rate of 4.20, outperforming the state-of-the-art model trained on 25,000 labeled examples. On standard semi-supervised learning benchmarks CIFAR-10 and SVHN, UDA outperforms all previous approaches and achieves an error rate of 2.7% on CIFAR-10 with only 4,000 examples and an error rate of 2.85% on SVHN with only 250 examples, nearly matching the performance of models trained on the full sets which are one or two orders of magnitude larger. UDA also works well on large-scale datasets such as ImageNet. When trained with 10% of the labeled set, UDA improves the top-1/top-5 accuracy from 55.1/77.3% to 68.7/88.5%. For the full ImageNet with 1.3M extra unlabeled data, UDA further pushes the performance from 78.3/94.4% to 79.0/94.5%. Speakers: Qizhe Xie, Zihang Dai, Eduard Hovy, Minh-Thang Luong, Quoc V. Le