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Active Generalized Category Discovery

Shijie Ma · Fei Zhu · Zhun Zhong · Xu-Yao Zhang · Cheng-Lin Liu

Arch 4A-E Poster #222
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Thu 20 Jun 5 p.m. PDT — 6:30 p.m. PDT


Generalized Category Discovery (GCD) is a pragmatic and challenging open-world task, which endeavors to cluster unlabeled samples from both novel and old classes, leveraging some labeled data of old classes. Given that knowledge learned from old classes is not fully transferable to new classes, and that novel categories are fully unlabeled, GCD inherently faces intractable problems, including imbalanced classification performance and inconsistent confidence between old and new classes, especially in the low-labeling regime. Hence, some annotations of new classes are deemed necessary. However, labeling new classes is extremely costly. To address this issue, we take the spirit of active learning and propose a new setting called Active Generalized Category Discovery (AGCD). The goal is to improve the performance of GCD by actively selecting a limited amount of valuable samples for labeling from the oracle. To solve this problem, we devise an adaptive sampling strategy, which jointly considers novelty, informativeness and diversity to adaptively select novel samples with proper uncertainty. However, owing to the varied orderings of label indices caused by the clustering of novel classes, the queried labels are not directly applicable to subsequent training. To overcome this issue, we further propose a stable label mapping algorithm that transforms ground truth labels to the label space of the classifier, thereby ensuring consistent training across different active selection stages. Our method achieves state-of-the-art performance on both generic and fine-grained datasets. Our code is available at

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