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TIPI: Test Time Adaptation With Transformation Invariance

A. Tuan Nguyen · Thanh Nguyen-Tang · Ser-Nam Lim · Philip H.S. Torr

West Building Exhibit Halls ABC 340


When deploying a machine learning model to a new environment, we often encounter the distribution shift problem -- meaning the target data distribution is different from the model’s training distribution. In this paper, we assume that labels are not provided for this new domain, and that we do not store the source data (e.g., for privacy reasons). It has been shown that even small shifts in the data distribution can affect the model’s performance severely. Test Time Adaptation offers a means to combat this problem, as it allows the model to adapt during test time to the new data distribution, using only unlabeled test data batches. To achieve this, the predominant approach is to optimize a surrogate loss on the test-time unlabeled target data. In particular, minimizing the prediction’s entropy on target samples has received much interest as it is task-agnostic and does not require altering the model’s training phase (e.g., does not require adding a self-supervised task during training on the source domain). However, as the target data’s batch size is often small in real-world scenarios (e.g., autonomous driving models process each few frames in real-time), we argue that this surrogate loss is not optimal since it often collapses with small batch sizes. To tackle this problem, in this paper, we propose to use an invariance regularizer as the surrogate loss during test-time adaptation, motivated by our theoretical results regarding the model’s performance under input transformations. The resulting method (TIPI -- Test tIme adaPtation with transformation Invariance) is validated with extensive experiments in various benchmarks (Cifar10-C, Cifar100-C, ImageNet-C, DIGITS, and VisDA17). Remarkably, TIPI is robust against small batch sizes (as small as 2 in our experiments), and consistently outperforms TENT in all settings. Our code is released at

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