September 19, 2022

Self-Supervised Learning with an Information Maximization Criterion

Serdar Ozsoy, Shadi Hamdan, Sercan Ö. Arik, Deniz Yuret, Alper T. Erdogan. To appear in NeurIPS, Nov 2022. (PDF, arXiv:2209.07999)

Abstract: Self-supervised learning allows AI systems to learn effective representations from large amounts of data using tasks that do not require costly labeling. Mode collapse, i.e., the model producing identical representations for all inputs, is a central problem to many self-supervised learning approaches, making self-supervised tasks, such as matching distorted variants of the inputs, ineffective. In this article, we argue that a straightforward application of information maximization among alternative latent representations of the same input naturally solves the collapse problem and achieves competitive empirical results. We propose a self-supervised learning method, CorInfoMax, that uses a second-order statistics-based mutual information measure that reflects the level of correlation among its arguments. Maximizing this correlative information measure between alternative representations of the same input serves two purposes: (1) it avoids the collapse problem by generating feature vectors with non-degenerate covariances; (2) it establishes relevance among alternative representations by increasing the linear dependence among them. An approximation of the proposed information maximization objective simplifies to a Euclidean distance-based objective function regularized by the log-determinant of the feature covariance matrix. The regularization term acts as a natural barrier against feature space degeneracy. Consequently, beyond avoiding complete output collapse to a single point, the proposed approach also prevents dimensional collapse by encouraging the spread of information across the whole feature space. Numerical experiments demonstrate that CorInfoMax achieves better or competitive performance results relative to the state-of-the-art SSL approaches.


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