Learning to Learn Dense Gaussian Processes for Few-Shot Learning

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 (NeurIPS 2021)

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Ze Wang, Zichen Miao, Xiantong Zhen, Qiang Qiu


Gaussian processes with deep neural networks demonstrate to be a strong learner for few-shot learning since they combine the strength of deep learning and kernels while being able to well capture uncertainty. However, it remains an open problem to leverage the shared knowledge provided by related tasks. In this paper, we propose to learn Gaussian processes with dense inducing variables by meta-learning for few-shot learning. In contrast to sparse Gaussian processes, we define a set of dense inducing variables to be of a much larger size than the support set in each task, which collects prior knowledge from experienced tasks. The dense inducing variables specify a shared Gaussian process prior over prediction functions of all tasks, which are learned in a variational inference framework and offer a strong inductive bias for learning new tasks. To achieve task-specific prediction functions, we propose to adapt the inducing variables to each task by efficient gradient descent. We conduct extensive experiments on common benchmark datasets for a variety of few-shot learning tasks. Our dense Gaussian processes present significant improvements over vanilla Gaussian processes and comparable or even better performance with state-of-the-art methods.