Tied-Augment: Controlling Representation Similarity Improves Data Augmentation

Emirhan Kurtulus, Zichao Li, Yann Dauphin, Ekin Dogus Cubuk

Data augmentation methods have played an important role in the recent advance of deep learning models, and have become an indispensable component of state-of-the-art models in semi-supervised, self-supervised, and supervised training for vision. Despite incurring no additional latency at test time, data augmentation often requires more epochs of training to be effective. For example, even the simple flips-and-crops augmentation requires training for more than 5 epochs to improve performance, whereas RandAugment requires more than 90 epochs. We propose a general framework called Tied-Augment, which improves the efficacy of data augmentation in a wide range of applications by adding a simple term to the loss that can control the similarity of representations under distortions. Tied-Augment can improve state-of-the-art methods from data augmentation (e.g. RandAugment, mixup), optimization (e.g. SAM), and semi-supervised learning (e.g. FixMatch). For example, Tied-RandAugment can outperform RandAugment by 2.0% on ImageNet. Notably, using Tied-Augment, data augmentation can be made to improve generalization even when training for a few epochs and when fine-tuning. We open source our code at https://github.com/ekurtulus/tied-augment/tree/main.

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