Deep invariant networks with differentiable augmentation layers

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Cédric ROMMEL, Thomas Moreau, Alexandre Gramfort


Designing learning systems which are invariant to certain data transformations is critical in machine learning. Practitioners can typically enforce a desired invariance on the trained model through the choice of a network architecture, e.g. using convolutions for translations, or using data augmentation. Yet, enforcing true invariance in the network can be difficult, and data invariances are not always known a piori. State-of-the-art methods for learning data augmentation policies require held-out data and are based on bilevel optimization problems, which are complex to solve and often computationally demanding. In this work we investigate new ways of learning invariances only from the training data. Using learnable augmentation layers built directly in the network, we demonstrate that our method is very versatile. It can incorporate any type of differentiable augmentation and be applied to a broad class of learning problems beyond computer vision. We provide empirical evidence showing that our approach is easier and faster to train than modern automatic data augmentation techniques based on bilevel optimization, while achieving comparable results. Experiments show that while the invariances transferred to a model through automatic data augmentation are limited by the model expressivity, the invariance yielded by our approach is insensitive to it by design.