Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022) Main Conference Track
Kaiwen Yang, Yanchao Sun, Jiahao Su, Fengxiang He, Xinmei Tian, Furong Huang, Tianyi Zhou, Dacheng Tao
Data augmentation is a critical contributing factor to the success of deep learning but heavily relies on prior domain knowledge which is not always available. Recent works on automatic data augmentation learn a policy to form a sequence of augmentation operations, which are still pre-defined and restricted to limited options. In this paper, we show that a prior-free autonomous data augmentation's objective can be derived from a representation learning principle that aims to preserve the minimum sufficient information of the labels. Given an example, the objective aims at creating a distant ``hard positive example'' as the augmentation, while still preserving the original label. We then propose a practical surrogate to the objective that can be optimized efficiently and integrated seamlessly into existing methods for a broad class of machine learning tasks, e.g., supervised, semi-supervised, and noisy-label learning. Unlike previous works, our method does not require training an extra generative model but instead leverages the intermediate layer representations of the end-task model for generating data augmentations. In experiments, we show that our method consistently brings non-trivial improvements to the three aforementioned learning tasks from both efficiency and final performance, either or not combined with pre-defined augmentations, e.g., on medical images when domain knowledge is unavailable and the existing augmentation techniques perform poorly. Code will be released publicly.