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Finetune Like You Pretrain: Improved Finetuning of Zero-Shot Vision Models

Sachin Goyal · Ananya Kumar · Sankalp Garg · Zico Kolter · Aditi Raghunathan

West Building Exhibit Halls ABC 272


Finetuning image-text models such as CLIP achieves state-of-the-art accuracies on a variety of benchmarks. However, recent works (Kumar et al., 2022; Wortsman et al., 2021) have shown that even subtle differences in the finetuning process can lead to surprisingly large differences in the final performance, both for in-distribution (ID) and out-of-distribution (OOD) data. In this work, we show that a natural and simple approach of mimicking contrastive pretraining consistently outperforms alternative finetuning approaches. Specifically, we cast downstream class labels as text prompts and continue optimizing the contrastive loss between image embeddings and class-descriptive prompt embeddings (contrastive finetuning). Our method consistently outperforms baselines across 7 distribution shift, 6 transfer learning, and 3 few-shot learning benchmarks. On WILDS-iWILDCam, our proposed approach FLYP outperforms the top of the leaderboard by 2.3% ID and 2.7% OOD, giving the highest reported accuracy. Averaged across 7 OOD datasets (2 WILDS and 5 ImageNet associated shifts), FLYP gives gains of 4.2% OOD over standard finetuning and outperforms current state-ofthe-art (LP-FT) by more than 1% both ID and OOD. Similarly, on 3 few-shot learning benchmarks, FLYP gives gains up to 4.6% over standard finetuning and 4.4% over the state-of-the-art. Thus we establish our proposed method of contrastive finetuning as a simple and intuitive state-ofthe-art for supervised finetuning of image-text models like CLIP. Code is available at

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