Learning from a limited number of samples is challenging since the learned model can easily become overfitted based on the biased distribution formed by only a few training examples. In this paper, we calibrate the distribution of these few-sample classes by transferring statistics from the classes with sufficient examples, then an adequate number of examples can be sampled from the calibrated distribution to expand the inputs to the classifier. We assume every dimension in the feature representation follows a Gaussian distribution so that the mean and the variance of the distribution can borrow from that of similar classes whose statistics are better estimated with an adequate number of samples. Our method can be built on top of off-the-shelf pretrained feature extractors and classification models without extra parameters. We show that a simple logistic regression classifier trained using the features sampled from our calibrated distribution can outperform the state-of-the-art accuracy on two datasets (~5% improvement on miniImageNet compared to the next best). The visualization of these generated features demonstrates that our calibrated distribution is an accurate estimation.
Few sample learning (FSL) is significant and challenging in the field of machine learning. The capability of learning and generalizing from very few samples successfully is a noticeable demarcation separating artificial intelligence and human intelligence since humans can readily establish their cognition to novelty from just a single or a handful of examples whereas machine learning algorithms typically entail hundreds or thousands of supervised samples to guarantee generalization ability. Despite the long history dated back to the early 2000s and the widespread attention in recent years with booming deep learning technologies, little surveys or reviews for FSL are available until now. In this context, we extensively review 200+ papers of FSL spanning from the 2000s to 2019 and provide a timely and comprehensive survey for FSL. In this survey, we review the evolution history as well as the current progress on FSL, categorize FSL approaches into the generative model based and discriminative model based kinds in principle, and emphasize particularly on the meta learning based FSL approaches. We also summarize several recently emerging extensional topics of FSL and review the latest advances on these topics. Furthermore, we highlight the important FSL applications covering many research hotspots in computer vision, natural language processing, audio and speech, reinforcement learning and robotic, data analysis, etc. Finally, we conclude the survey with a discussion on promising trends in the hope of providing guidance and insights to follow-up researches.
Few-shot learning and self-supervised learning address different facets of the same problem: how to train a model with little or no labeled data. Few-shot learning aims for optimization methods and models that can learn efficiently to recognize patterns in the low data regime. Self-supervised learning focuses instead on unlabeled data and looks into it for the supervisory signal to feed high capacity deep neural networks. In this work we exploit the complementarity of these two domains and propose an approach for improving few-shot learning through self-supervision. We use self-supervision as an auxiliary task in a few-shot learning pipeline, enabling feature extractors to learn richer and more transferable visual representations while still using few annotated samples. Through self-supervision, our approach can be naturally extended towards using diverse unlabeled data from other datasets in the few-shot setting. We report consistent improvements across an array of architectures, datasets and self-supervision techniques.