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Hint-Aug: Drawing Hints From Foundation Vision Transformers Towards Boosted Few-Shot Parameter-Efficient Tuning

Zhongzhi Yu · Shang Wu · Yonggan Fu · Shunyao Zhang · Yingyan (Celine) Lin

West Building Exhibit Halls ABC 273


Despite the growing demand for tuning foundation vision transformers (FViTs) on downstream tasks, fully unleashing FViTs’ potential under data-limited scenarios (e.g., few-shot tuning) remains a challenge due to FViTs’ data-hungry nature. Common data augmentation techniques fall short in this context due to the limited features contained in the few-shot tuning data. To tackle this challenge, we first identify an opportunity for FViTs in few-shot tuning: pretrained FViTs themselves have already learned highly representative features from large-scale pretraining data, which are fully preserved during widely used parameter-efficient tuning. We thus hypothesize that leveraging those learned features to augment the tuning data can boost the effectiveness of few-shot FViT tuning. To this end, we propose a framework called Hint-based Data Augmentation (Hint-Aug), which aims to boost FViT in few-shot tuning by augmenting the over-fitted parts of tuning samples with the learned features of pretrained FViTs. Specifically, Hint-Aug integrates two key enablers: (1) an Attentive Over-fitting Detector (AOD) to detect over-confident patches of foundation ViTs for potentially alleviating their over-fitting on the few-shot tuning data and (2) a Confusion-based Feature Infusion (CFI) module to infuse easy-to-confuse features from the pretrained FViTs with the over-confident patches detected by the above AOD in order to enhance the feature diversity during tuning. Extensive experiments and ablation studies on five datasets and three parameter-efficient tuning techniques consistently validate Hint-Aug’s effectiveness: 0.04%~32.91% higher accuracy over the state-of-the-art (SOTA) data augmentation method under various low-shot settings. For example, on the Pet dataset, Hint-Aug achieves a 2.22% higher accuracy with 50% less training data over SOTA data augmentation methods.

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