Meta-learning (ML) has emerged as a promising learning method under resource constraints such as few-shot learning. ML approaches typically propose a methodology to learn generalizable models. In this work-in-progress paper, we put the recent ML approaches to a stress test to discover their limitations. Precisely, we measure the performance of ML approaches for few-shot learning against increasing task complexity. Our results show a quick degradation in the performance of initialization strategies for ML (MAML, TAML, and MetaSGD), while surprisingly, approaches that use an optimization strategy (MetaLSTM) perform significantly better. We further demonstrate the effectiveness of an optimization strategy for ML (MetaLSTM++) trained in a MAML manner over a pure optimization strategy. Our experiments also show that the optimization strategies for ML achieve higher transferability from simple to complex tasks.

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The recent GPT-3 model (Brown et al., 2020) achieves remarkable few-shot performance solely by leveraging a natural-language prompt and a few task demonstrations as input context. Inspired by their findings, we study few-shot learning in a more practical scenario, where we use smaller language models for which fine-tuning is computationally efficient. We present LM-BFF--better few-shot fine-tuning of language models--a suite of simple and complementary techniques for fine-tuning language models on a small number of annotated examples. Our approach includes (1) prompt-based fine-tuning together with a novel pipeline for automating prompt generation; and (2) a refined strategy for dynamically and selectively incorporating demonstrations into each context. Finally, we present a systematic evaluation for analyzing few-shot performance on a range of NLP tasks, including classification and regression. Our experiments demonstrate that our methods combine to dramatically outperform standard fine-tuning procedures in this low resource setting, achieving up to 30% absolute improvement, and 11% on average across all tasks. Our approach makes minimal assumptions on task resources and domain expertise, and hence constitutes a strong task-agnostic method for few-shot learning.

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We study few-shot acoustic event detection (AED) in this paper. Few-shot learning enables detection of new events with very limited labeled data. Compared to other research areas like computer vision, few-shot learning for audio recognition has been under-studied. We formulate few-shot AED problem and explore different ways of utilizing traditional supervised methods for this setting as well as a variety of meta-learning approaches, which are conventionally used to solve few-shot classification problem. Compared to supervised baselines, meta-learning models achieve superior performance, thus showing its effectiveness on generalization to new audio events. Our analysis including impact of initialization and domain discrepancy further validate the advantage of meta-learning approaches in few-shot AED.

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Meta-learning extracts the common knowledge acquired from learning different tasks and uses it for unseen tasks. It demonstrates a clear advantage on tasks that have insufficient training data, e.g., few-shot learning. In most meta-learning methods, tasks are implicitly related via the shared model or optimizer. In this paper, we show that a meta-learner that explicitly relates tasks on a graph describing the relations of their output dimensions (e.g., classes) can significantly improve the performance of few-shot learning. This type of graph is usually free or cheap to obtain but has rarely been explored in previous works. We study the prototype based few-shot classification, in which a prototype is generated for each class, such that the nearest neighbor search between the prototypes produces an accurate classification. We introduce "Gated Propagation Network (GPN)", which learns to propagate messages between prototypes of different classes on the graph, so that learning the prototype of each class benefits from the data of other related classes. In GPN, an attention mechanism is used for the aggregation of messages from neighboring classes, and a gate is deployed to choose between the aggregated messages and the message from the class itself. GPN is trained on a sequence of tasks from many-shot to few-shot generated by subgraph sampling. During training, it is able to reuse and update previously achieved prototypes from the memory in a life-long learning cycle. In experiments, we change the training-test discrepancy and test task generation settings for thorough evaluations. GPN outperforms recent meta-learning methods on two benchmark datasets in all studied cases.

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A core capability of intelligent systems is the ability to quickly learn new tasks by drawing on prior experience. Gradient (or optimization) based meta-learning has recently emerged as an effective approach for few-shot learning. In this formulation, meta-parameters are learned in the outer loop, while task-specific models are learned in the inner-loop, by using only a small amount of data from the current task. A key challenge in scaling these approaches is the need to differentiate through the inner loop learning process, which can impose considerable computational and memory burdens. By drawing upon implicit differentiation, we develop the implicit MAML algorithm, which depends only on the solution to the inner level optimization and not the path taken by the inner loop optimizer. This effectively decouples the meta-gradient computation from the choice of inner loop optimizer. As a result, our approach is agnostic to the choice of inner loop optimizer and can gracefully handle many gradient steps without vanishing gradients or memory constraints. Theoretically, we prove that implicit MAML can compute accurate meta-gradients with a memory footprint that is, up to small constant factors, no more than that which is required to compute a single inner loop gradient and at no overall increase in the total computational cost. Experimentally, we show that these benefits of implicit MAML translate into empirical gains on few-shot image recognition benchmarks.

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Many meta-learning approaches for few-shot learning rely on simple base learners such as nearest-neighbor classifiers. However, even in the few-shot regime, discriminatively trained linear predictors can offer better generalization. We propose to use these predictors as base learners to learn representations for few-shot learning and show they offer better tradeoffs between feature size and performance across a range of few-shot recognition benchmarks. Our objective is to learn feature embeddings that generalize well under a linear classification rule for novel categories. To efficiently solve the objective, we exploit two properties of linear classifiers: implicit differentiation of the optimality conditions of the convex problem and the dual formulation of the optimization problem. This allows us to use high-dimensional embeddings with improved generalization at a modest increase in computational overhead. Our approach, named MetaOptNet, achieves state-of-the-art performance on miniImageNet, tieredImageNet, CIFAR-FS, and FC100 few-shot learning benchmarks. Our code is available at https://github.com/kjunelee/MetaOptNet.

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The field of few-shot learning has recently seen substantial advancements. Most of these advancements came from casting few-shot learning as a meta-learning problem. Model Agnostic Meta Learning or MAML is currently one of the best approaches for few-shot learning via meta-learning. MAML is simple, elegant and very powerful, however, it has a variety of issues, such as being very sensitive to neural network architectures, often leading to instability during training, requiring arduous hyperparameter searches to stabilize training and achieve high generalization and being very computationally expensive at both training and inference times. In this paper, we propose various modifications to MAML that not only stabilize the system, but also substantially improve the generalization performance, convergence speed and computational overhead of MAML, which we call MAML++.

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The key issue of few-shot learning is learning to generalize. In this paper, we propose a large margin principle to improve the generalization capacity of metric based methods for few-shot learning. To realize it, we develop a unified framework to learn a more discriminative metric space by augmenting the softmax classification loss function with a large margin distance loss function for training. Extensive experiments on two state-of-the-art few-shot learning models, graph neural networks and prototypical networks, show that our method can improve the performance of existing models substantially with very little computational overhead, demonstrating the effectiveness of the large margin principle and the potential of our method.

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Meta-learning enables a model to learn from very limited data to undertake a new task. In this paper, we study the general meta-learning with adversarial samples. We present a meta-learning algorithm, ADML (ADversarial Meta-Learner), which leverages clean and adversarial samples to optimize the initialization of a learning model in an adversarial manner. ADML leads to the following desirable properties: 1) it turns out to be very effective even in the cases with only clean samples; 2) it is model-agnostic, i.e., it is compatible with any learning model that can be trained with gradient descent; and most importantly, 3) it is robust to adversarial samples, i.e., unlike other meta-learning methods, it only leads to a minor performance degradation when there are adversarial samples. We show via extensive experiments that ADML delivers the state-of-the-art performance on two widely-used image datasets, MiniImageNet and CIFAR100, in terms of both accuracy and robustness.

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Although reinforcement learning methods can achieve impressive results in simulation, the real world presents two major challenges: generating samples is exceedingly expensive, and unexpected perturbations can cause proficient but narrowly-learned policies to fail at test time. In this work, we propose to learn how to quickly and effectively adapt online to new situations as well as to perturbations. To enable sample-efficient meta-learning, we consider learning online adaptation in the context of model-based reinforcement learning. Our approach trains a global model such that, when combined with recent data, the model can be be rapidly adapted to the local context. Our experiments demonstrate that our approach can enable simulated agents to adapt their behavior online to novel terrains, to a crippled leg, and in highly-dynamic environments.

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Prevalent techniques in zero-shot learning do not generalize well to other related problem scenarios. Here, we present a unified approach for conventional zero-shot, generalized zero-shot and few-shot learning problems. Our approach is based on a novel Class Adapting Principal Directions (CAPD) concept that allows multiple embeddings of image features into a semantic space. Given an image, our method produces one principal direction for each seen class. Then, it learns how to combine these directions to obtain the principal direction for each unseen class such that the CAPD of the test image is aligned with the semantic embedding of the true class, and opposite to the other classes. This allows efficient and class-adaptive information transfer from seen to unseen classes. In addition, we propose an automatic process for selection of the most useful seen classes for each unseen class to achieve robustness in zero-shot learning. Our method can update the unseen CAPD taking the advantages of few unseen images to work in a few-shot learning scenario. Furthermore, our method can generalize the seen CAPDs by estimating seen-unseen diversity that significantly improves the performance of generalized zero-shot learning. Our extensive evaluations demonstrate that the proposed approach consistently achieves superior performance in zero-shot, generalized zero-shot and few/one-shot learning problems.

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