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Towards Effective Visual Representations for Partial-Label Learning

Shiyu Xia · Jiaqi Lv · Ning Xu · Gang Niu · Xin Geng

West Building Exhibit Halls ABC 308


Under partial-label learning (PLL) where, for each training instance, only a set of ambiguous candidate labels containing the unknown true label is accessible, contrastive learning has recently boosted the performance of PLL on vision tasks, attributed to representations learned by contrasting the same/different classes of entities. Without access to true labels, positive points are predicted using pseudolabels that are inherently noisy, and negative points often require large batches or momentum encoders, resulting in unreliable similarity information and a high computational overhead. In this paper, we rethink a state-of-the-art contrastive PLL method PiCO [24], inspiring the design of a simple framework termed PaPi (Partial-label learning with a guided Prototypical classifier), which demonstrates significant scope for improvement in representation learning, thus contributing to label disambiguation. PaPi guides the optimization of a prototypical classifier by a linear classifier with which they share the same feature encoder, thus explicitly encouraging the representation to reflect visual similarity between categories. It is also technically appealing, as PaPi requires only a few components in PiCO with the opposite direction of guidance, and directly eliminates the contrastive learning module that would introduce noise and consume computational resources. We empirically demonstrate that PaPi significantly outperforms other PLL methods on various image classification tasks.

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