Unsupervised Embedding Learning from Uncertainty Momentum Modeling

Jiahuan Zhou, Yansong Tang, Bing Su, Ying Wu

Existing popular unsupervised embedding learning methods focus on enhancing the instance-level local discrimination of the given unlabeled images by exploring various negative data. However, the existed sample outliers which exhibit large intra-class divergences or small inter-class variations severely limit their learning performance. We justify that the performance limitation is caused by the gradient vanishing on these sample outliers. Moreover, the shortage of positive data and disregard for global discrimination consideration also pose critical issues for unsupervised learning but are always ignored by existing methods. To handle these issues, we propose a novel solution to explicitly model and directly explore the uncertainty of the given unlabeled learning samples. Instead of learning a deterministic feature point for each sample in the embedding space, we propose to represent a sample by a stochastic Gaussian with the mean vector depicting its space localization and covariance vector representing the sample uncertainty. We leverage such uncertainty modeling as momentum to the learning which is helpful to tackle the outliers. Furthermore, abundant positive candidates can be readily drawn from the learned instance-specific distributions which are further adopted to mitigate the aforementioned issues. Thorough rationale analyses and extensive experiments are presented to verify our superiority.

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