Recent advances have spurred incredible progress in self-supervised pretraining for vision. We investigate what factors may play a role in the utility of these pretraining methods for practitioners. To do this, we evaluate various self-supervised algorithms across a comprehensive array of synthetic datasets and downstream tasks. We prepare a suite of synthetic data that enables an endless supply of annotated images as well as full control over dataset difficulty. Our experiments offer insights into how the utility of self-supervision changes as the number of available labels grows as well as how the utility changes as a function of the downstream task and the properties of the training data. We also find that linear evaluation does not correlate with finetuning performance. Code and data is available at \href{https://www.github.com/princeton-vl/selfstudy}{github.com/princeton-vl/selfstudy}.

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The notion of "in-domain data" in NLP is often over-simplistic and vague, as textual data varies in many nuanced linguistic aspects such as topic, style or level of formality. In addition, domain labels are many times unavailable, making it challenging to build domain-specific systems. We show that massive pre-trained language models implicitly learn sentence representations that cluster by domains without supervision -- suggesting a simple data-driven definition of domains in textual data. We harness this property and propose domain data selection methods based on such models, which require only a small set of in-domain monolingual data. We evaluate our data selection methods for neural machine translation across five diverse domains, where they outperform an established approach as measured by both BLEU and by precision and recall of sentence selection with respect to an oracle.

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We present a new method to learn video representations from large-scale unlabeled video data. Ideally, this representation will be generic and transferable, directly usable for new tasks such as action recognition and zero or few-shot learning. We formulate unsupervised representation learning as a multi-modal, multi-task learning problem, where the representations are shared across different modalities via distillation. Further, we introduce the concept of loss function evolution by using an evolutionary search algorithm to automatically find optimal combination of loss functions capturing many (self-supervised) tasks and modalities. Thirdly, we propose an unsupervised representation evaluation metric using distribution matching to a large unlabeled dataset as a prior constraint, based on Zipf's law. This unsupervised constraint, which is not guided by any labeling, produces similar results to weakly-supervised, task-specific ones. The proposed unsupervised representation learning results in a single RGB network and outperforms previous methods. Notably, it is also more effective than several label-based methods (e.g., ImageNet), with the exception of large, fully labeled video datasets.

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Few-shot image classification aims to classify unseen classes with limited labeled samples. Recent works benefit from the meta-learning process with episodic tasks and can fast adapt to class from training to testing. Due to the limited number of samples for each task, the initial embedding network for meta learning becomes an essential component and can largely affects the performance in practice. To this end, many pre-trained methods have been proposed, and most of them are trained in supervised way with limited transfer ability for unseen classes. In this paper, we proposed to train a more generalized embedding network with self-supervised learning (SSL) which can provide slow and robust representation for downstream tasks by learning from the data itself. We evaluate our work by extensive comparisons with previous baseline methods on two few-shot classification datasets ({\em i.e.,} MiniImageNet and CUB). Based on the evaluation results, the proposed method achieves significantly better performance, i.e., improve 1-shot and 5-shot tasks by nearly \textbf{3\%} and \textbf{4\%} on MiniImageNet, by nearly \textbf{9\%} and \textbf{3\%} on CUB. Moreover, the proposed method can gain the improvement of (\textbf{15\%}, \textbf{13\%}) on MiniImageNet and (\textbf{15\%}, \textbf{8\%}) on CUB by pretraining using more unlabeled data. Our code will be available at \hyperref[https://github.com/phecy/SSL-FEW-SHOT.]{https://github.com/phecy/ssl-few-shot.}

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Increasing model size when pretraining natural language representations often results in improved performance on downstream tasks. However, at some point further model increases become harder due to GPU/TPU memory limitations, longer training times, and unexpected model degradation. To address these problems, we present two parameter-reduction techniques to lower memory consumption and increase the training speed of BERT. Comprehensive empirical evidence shows that our proposed methods lead to models that scale much better compared to the original BERT. We also use a self-supervised loss that focuses on modeling inter-sentence coherence, and show it consistently helps downstream tasks with multi-sentence inputs. As a result, our best model establishes new state-of-the-art results on the GLUE, RACE, and SQuAD benchmarks while having fewer parameters compared to BERT-large.The code and the pretrained models are available at https://github.com/google-research/google-research/tree/master/albert.

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Recent progress in pretraining language models on large textual corpora led to a surge of improvements for downstream NLP tasks. Whilst learning linguistic knowledge, these models may also be storing relational knowledge present in the training data, and may be able to answer queries structured as "fill-in-the-blank" cloze statements. Language models have many advantages over structured knowledge bases: they require no schema engineering, allow practitioners to query about an open class of relations, are easy to extend to more data, and require no human supervision to train. We present an in-depth analysis of the relational knowledge already present (without fine-tuning) in a wide range of state-of-the-art pretrained language models. We find that (i) without fine-tuning, BERT contains relational knowledge competitive with traditional NLP methods that have some access to oracle knowledge, (ii) BERT also does remarkably well on open-domain question answering against a supervised baseline, and (iii) certain types of factual knowledge are learned much more readily than others by standard language model pretraining approaches. The surprisingly strong ability of these models to recall factual knowledge without any fine-tuning demonstrates their potential as unsupervised open-domain QA systems. The code to reproduce our analysis is available at https://github.com/facebookresearch/LAMA.

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Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) represents the latest incarnation of pretrained language models which have recently advanced a wide range of natural language processing tasks. In this paper, we showcase how BERT can be usefully applied in text summarization and propose a general framework for both extractive and abstractive models. We introduce a novel document-level encoder based on BERT which is able to express the semantics of a document and obtain representations for its sentences. Our extractive model is built on top of this encoder by stacking several inter-sentence Transformer layers. For abstractive summarization, we propose a new fine-tuning schedule which adopts different optimizers for the encoder and the decoder as a means of alleviating the mismatch between the two (the former is pretrained while the latter is not). We also demonstrate that a two-staged fine-tuning approach can further boost the quality of the generated summaries. Experiments on three datasets show that our model achieves state-of-the-art results across the board in both extractive and abstractive settings. Our code is available at https://github.com/nlpyang/PreSumm

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Despite much success, deep learning generally does not perform well with small labeled training sets. In these scenarios, data augmentation has shown much promise in alleviating the need for more labeled data, but it so far has mostly been applied in supervised settings and achieved limited gains. In this work, we propose to apply data augmentation to unlabeled data in a semi-supervised learning setting. Our method, named Unsupervised Data Augmentation or UDA, encourages the model predictions to be consistent between an unlabeled example and an augmented unlabeled example. Unlike previous methods that use random noise such as Gaussian noise or dropout noise, UDA has a small twist in that it makes use of harder and more realistic noise generated by state-of-the-art data augmentation methods. This small twist leads to substantial improvements on six language tasks and three vision tasks even when the labeled set is extremely small. For example, on the IMDb text classification dataset, with only 20 labeled examples, UDA achieves an error rate of 4.20, outperforming the state-of-the-art model trained on 25,000 labeled examples. On standard semi-supervised learning benchmarks CIFAR-10 and SVHN, UDA outperforms all previous approaches and achieves an error rate of 2.7% on CIFAR-10 with only 4,000 examples and an error rate of 2.85% on SVHN with only 250 examples, nearly matching the performance of models trained on the full sets which are one or two orders of magnitude larger. UDA also works well on large-scale datasets such as ImageNet. When trained with 10% of the labeled set, UDA improves the top-1/top-5 accuracy from 55.1/77.3% to 68.7/88.5%. For the full ImageNet with 1.3M extra unlabeled data, UDA further pushes the performance from 78.3/94.4% to 79.0/94.5%.

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We present a new approach for pretraining a bi-directional transformer model that provides significant performance gains across a variety of language understanding problems. Our model solves a cloze-style word reconstruction task, where each word is ablated and must be predicted given the rest of the text. Experiments demonstrate large performance gains on GLUE and new state of the art results on NER as well as constituency parsing benchmarks, consistent with the concurrently introduced BERT model. We also present a detailed analysis of a number of factors that contribute to effective pretraining, including data domain and size, model capacity, and variations on the cloze objective.

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In multi-task learning, a learner is given a collection of prediction tasks and needs to solve all of them. In contrast to previous work, which required that annotated training data is available for all tasks, we consider a new setting, in which for some tasks, potentially most of them, only unlabeled training data is provided. Consequently, to solve all tasks, information must be transferred between tasks with labels and tasks without labels. Focusing on an instance-based transfer method we analyze two variants of this setting: when the set of labeled tasks is fixed, and when it can be actively selected by the learner. We state and prove a generalization bound that covers both scenarios and derive from it an algorithm for making the choice of labeled tasks (in the active case) and for transferring information between the tasks in a principled way. We also illustrate the effectiveness of the algorithm by experiments on synthetic and real data.

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