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Leveraging Vision-Language Models for Improving Domain Generalization in Image Classification

Sravanti Addepalli · Ashish Asokan · Lakshay Sharma · R. Venkatesh Babu

Arch 4A-E Poster #427
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Fri 21 Jun 10:30 a.m. PDT — noon PDT


Vision-Language Models (VLMs) such as CLIP are trained on large amounts of image-text pairs, resulting in remarkable generalization across several data distributions. However, in several cases, their expensive training and data collection/curation costs do not justify the end application. This motivates a vendor-client paradigm, where a vendor trains a large-scale VLM and grants only input-output access to clients on a pay-per-query basis in a black-box setting. The client aims to minimize inference cost by distilling the VLM to a student model using the limited available task-specific data, and further deploying this student model in the downstream application. While naive distillation largely improves the In-Domain (ID) accuracy of the student, it fails to transfer the superior out-of-distribution (OOD) generalization of the VLM teacher using the limited available labeled images. To mitigate this, we propose Vision-Language to Vision - Align, Distill, Predict (VL2V-ADiP), which first aligns the vision and language modalities of the teacher model with the vision modality of a pre-trained student model, and further distills the aligned VLM representations to the student. This maximally retains the pre-trained features of the student, while also incorporating the rich representations of the VLM image encoder and the superior generalization of the text embeddings. The proposed approach achieves state-of-the-art results on the standard Domain Generalization benchmarks in a black-box teacher setting as well as a white-box setting where the weights of the VLM are accessible.

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