InstanT: Semi-supervised Learning with Instance-dependent Thresholds

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper


Muyang Li, Runze Wu, Haoyu Liu, Jun Yu, Xun Yang, Bo Han, Tongliang Liu


Semi-supervised learning (SSL) has been a fundamental challenge in machine learning for decades. The primary family of SSL algorithms, known as pseudo-labeling, involves assigning pseudo-labels to confident unlabeled instances and incorporating them into the training set. Therefore, the selection criteria of confident instances are crucial to the success of SSL. Recently, there has been growing interest in the development of SSL methods that use dynamic or adaptive thresholds. Yet, these methods typically apply the same threshold to all samples, or use class-dependent thresholds for instances belonging to a certain class, while neglecting instance-level information. In this paper, we propose the study of instance-dependent thresholds, which has the highest degree of freedom compared with existing methods. Specifically, we devise a novel instance-dependent threshold function for all unlabeled instances by utilizing their instance-level ambiguity and the instance-dependent error rates of pseudo-labels, so instances that are more likely to have incorrect pseudo-labels will have higher thresholds. Furthermore, we demonstrate that our instance-dependent threshold function provides a bounded probabilistic guarantee for the correctness of the pseudo-labels it assigns.