Graph neural networks (GNNs) have been widely used in many graph-based tasks such as node classification, link prediction, and node clustering. However, GNNs gain their performance benefits mainly from performing the feature propagation and smoothing across the edges of the graph, thus requiring sufficient connectivity and label information for effective propagation. Unfortunately, many real-world networks are sparse in terms of both edges and labels, leading to sub-optimal performance of GNNs. Recent interest in this sparse problem has focused on the self-training approach, which expands supervised signals with pseudo labels. Nevertheless, the self-training approach inherently cannot realize the full potential of refining the learning performance on sparse graphs due to the unsatisfactory quality and quantity of pseudo labels. In this paper, we propose ROD, a novel reception-aware online knowledge distillation approach for sparse graph learning. We design three supervision signals for ROD: multi-scale reception-aware graph knowledge, task-based supervision, and rich distilled knowledge, allowing online knowledge transfer in a peer-teaching manner. To extract knowledge concealed in the multi-scale reception fields, ROD explicitly requires individual student models to preserve different levels of locality information. For a given task, each student would predict based on its reception-scale knowledge, while simultaneously a strong teacher is established on-the-fly by combining multi-scale knowledge. Our approach has been extensively evaluated on 9 datasets and a variety of graph-based tasks, including node classification, link prediction, and node clustering. The result demonstrates that ROD achieves state-of-art performance and is more robust for the graph sparsity.

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Recently many efforts have been devoted to applying graph neural networks (GNNs) to molecular property prediction which is a fundamental task for computational drug and material discovery. One of major obstacles to hinder the successful prediction of molecule property by GNNs is the scarcity of labeled data. Though graph contrastive learning (GCL) methods have achieved extraordinary performance with insufficient labeled data, most focused on designing data augmentation schemes for general graphs. However, the fundamental property of a molecule could be altered with the augmentation method (like random perturbation) on molecular graphs. Whereas, the critical geometric information of molecules remains rarely explored under the current GNN and GCL architectures. To this end, we propose a novel graph contrastive learning method utilizing the geometry of the molecule across 2D and 3D views, which is named GeomGCL. Specifically, we first devise a dual-view geometric message passing network (GeomMPNN) to adaptively leverage the rich information of both 2D and 3D graphs of a molecule. The incorporation of geometric properties at different levels can greatly facilitate the molecular representation learning. Then a novel geometric graph contrastive scheme is designed to make both geometric views collaboratively supervise each other to improve the generalization ability of GeomMPNN. We evaluate GeomGCL on various downstream property prediction tasks via a finetune process. Experimental results on seven real-life molecular datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed GeomGCL against state-of-the-art baselines.

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Knowledge distillation~(KD) has been proved effective for compressing large-scale pre-trained language models. However, existing methods conduct KD statically, e.g., the student model aligns its output distribution to that of a selected teacher model on the pre-defined training dataset. In this paper, we explore whether a dynamic knowledge distillation that empowers the student to adjust the learning procedure according to its competency, regarding the student performance and learning efficiency. We explore the dynamical adjustments on three aspects: teacher model adoption, data selection, and KD objective adaptation. Experimental results show that (1) proper selection of teacher model can boost the performance of student model; (2) conducting KD with 10% informative instances achieves comparable performance while greatly accelerates the training; (3) the student performance can be boosted by adjusting the supervision contribution of different alignment objective. We find dynamic knowledge distillation is promising and provide discussions on potential future directions towards more efficient KD methods. Our code is available at https://github.com/lancopku/DynamicKD.

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Despite the success that metric learning based approaches have achieved in few-shot learning, recent works reveal the ineffectiveness of their episodic training mode. In this paper, we point out two potential reasons for this problem: 1) the random episodic labels can only provide limited supervision information, while the relatedness information between the query and support samples is not fully exploited; 2) the meta-learner is usually constrained by the limited contextual information of the local episode. To overcome these problems, we propose a new Global Relatedness Decoupled-Distillation (GRDD) method using the global category knowledge and the Relatedness Decoupled-Distillation (RDD) strategy. Our GRDD learns new visual concepts quickly by imitating the habit of humans, i.e. learning from the deep knowledge distilled from the teacher. More specifically, we first train a global learner on the entire base subset using category labels as supervision to leverage the global context information of the categories. Then, the well-trained global learner is used to simulate the query-support relatedness in global dependencies. Finally, the distilled global query-support relatedness is explicitly used to train the meta-learner using the RDD strategy, with the goal of making the meta-learner more discriminative. The RDD strategy aims to decouple the dense query-support relatedness into the groups of sparse decoupled relatedness. Moreover, only the relatedness of a single support sample with other query samples is considered in each group. By distilling the sparse decoupled relatedness group by group, sharper relatedness can be effectively distilled to the meta-learner, thereby facilitating the learning of a discriminative meta-learner. We conduct extensive experiments on the miniImagenet and CIFAR-FS datasets, which show the state-of-the-art performance of our GRDD method.

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Classic machine learning methods are built on the $i.i.d.$ assumption that training and testing data are independent and identically distributed. However, in real scenarios, the $i.i.d.$ assumption can hardly be satisfied, rendering the sharp drop of classic machine learning algorithms' performances under distributional shifts, which indicates the significance of investigating the Out-of-Distribution generalization problem. Out-of-Distribution (OOD) generalization problem addresses the challenging setting where the testing distribution is unknown and different from the training. This paper serves as the first effort to systematically and comprehensively discuss the OOD generalization problem, from the definition, methodology, evaluation to the implications and future directions. Firstly, we provide the formal definition of the OOD generalization problem. Secondly, existing methods are categorized into three parts based on their positions in the whole learning pipeline, namely unsupervised representation learning, supervised model learning and optimization, and typical methods for each category are discussed in detail. We then demonstrate the theoretical connections of different categories, and introduce the commonly used datasets and evaluation metrics. Finally, we summarize the whole literature and raise some future directions for OOD generalization problem. The summary of OOD generalization methods reviewed in this survey can be found at http://out-of-distribution-generalization.com.

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Federated Learning (FL) is a decentralized machine-learning paradigm, in which a global server iteratively averages the model parameters of local users without accessing their data. User heterogeneity has imposed significant challenges to FL, which can incur drifted global models that are slow to converge. Knowledge Distillation has recently emerged to tackle this issue, by refining the server model using aggregated knowledge from heterogeneous users, other than directly averaging their model parameters. This approach, however, depends on a proxy dataset, making it impractical unless such a prerequisite is satisfied. Moreover, the ensemble knowledge is not fully utilized to guide local model learning, which may in turn affect the quality of the aggregated model. Inspired by the prior art, we propose a data-free knowledge distillation} approach to address heterogeneous FL, where the server learns a lightweight generator to ensemble user information in a data-free manner, which is then broadcasted to users, regulating local training using the learned knowledge as an inductive bias. Empirical studies powered by theoretical implications show that, our approach facilitates FL with better generalization performance using fewer communication rounds, compared with the state-of-the-art.

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Deep neural models in recent years have been successful in almost every field, including extremely complex problem statements. However, these models are huge in size, with millions (and even billions) of parameters, thus demanding more heavy computation power and failing to be deployed on edge devices. Besides, the performance boost is highly dependent on redundant labeled data. To achieve faster speeds and to handle the problems caused by the lack of data, knowledge distillation (KD) has been proposed to transfer information learned from one model to another. KD is often characterized by the so-called `Student-Teacher' (S-T) learning framework and has been broadly applied in model compression and knowledge transfer. This paper is about KD and S-T learning, which are being actively studied in recent years. First, we aim to provide explanations of what KD is and how/why it works. Then, we provide a comprehensive survey on the recent progress of KD methods together with S-T frameworks typically for vision tasks. In general, we consider some fundamental questions that have been driving this research area and thoroughly generalize the research progress and technical details. Additionally, we systematically analyze the research status of KD in vision applications. Finally, we discuss the potentials and open challenges of existing methods and prospect the future directions of KD and S-T learning.

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Video captioning is a challenging task that requires a deep understanding of visual scenes. State-of-the-art methods generate captions using either scene-level or object-level information but without explicitly modeling object interactions. Thus, they often fail to make visually grounded predictions, and are sensitive to spurious correlations. In this paper, we propose a novel spatio-temporal graph model for video captioning that exploits object interactions in space and time. Our model builds interpretable links and is able to provide explicit visual grounding. To avoid unstable performance caused by the variable number of objects, we further propose an object-aware knowledge distillation mechanism, in which local object information is used to regularize global scene features. We demonstrate the efficacy of our approach through extensive experiments on two benchmarks, showing our approach yields competitive performance with interpretable predictions.

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Graph neural networks (GNNs) are a popular class of machine learning models whose major advantage is their ability to incorporate a sparse and discrete dependency structure between data points. Unfortunately, GNNs can only be used when such a graph-structure is available. In practice, however, real-world graphs are often noisy and incomplete or might not be available at all. With this work, we propose to jointly learn the graph structure and the parameters of graph convolutional networks (GCNs) by approximately solving a bilevel program that learns a discrete probability distribution on the edges of the graph. This allows one to apply GCNs not only in scenarios where the given graph is incomplete or corrupted but also in those where a graph is not available. We conduct a series of experiments that analyze the behavior of the proposed method and demonstrate that it outperforms related methods by a significant margin.

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Graph convolutional neural networks have recently shown great potential for the task of zero-shot learning. These models are highly sample efficient as related concepts in the graph structure share statistical strength allowing generalization to new classes when faced with a lack of data. However, multi-layer architectures, which are required to propagate knowledge to distant nodes in the graph, dilute the knowledge by performing extensive Laplacian smoothing at each layer and thereby consequently decrease performance. In order to still enjoy the benefit brought by the graph structure while preventing dilution of knowledge from distant nodes, we propose a Dense Graph Propagation (DGP) module with carefully designed direct links among distant nodes. DGP allows us to exploit the hierarchical graph structure of the knowledge graph through additional connections. These connections are added based on a node's relationship to its ancestors and descendants. A weighting scheme is further used to weigh their contribution depending on the distance to the node to improve information propagation in the graph. Combined with finetuning of the representations in a two-stage training approach our method outperforms state-of-the-art zero-shot learning approaches.

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Video representation learning is a vital problem for classification task. Recently, a promising unsupervised paradigm termed self-supervised learning has emerged, which explores inherent supervisory signals implied in massive data for feature learning via solving auxiliary tasks. However, existing methods in this regard suffer from two limitations when extended to video classification. First, they focus only on a single task, whereas ignoring complementarity among different task-specific features and thus resulting in suboptimal video representation. Second, high computational and memory cost hinders their application in real-world scenarios. In this paper, we propose a graph-based distillation framework to address these problems: (1) We propose logits graph and representation graph to transfer knowledge from multiple self-supervised tasks, where the former distills classifier-level knowledge by solving a multi-distribution joint matching problem, and the latter distills internal feature knowledge from pairwise ensembled representations with tackling the challenge of heterogeneity among different features; (2) The proposal that adopts a teacher-student framework can reduce the redundancy of knowledge learnt from teachers dramatically, leading to a lighter student model that solves classification task more efficiently. Experimental results on 3 video datasets validate that our proposal not only helps learn better video representation but also compress model for faster inference.

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