Keywords: self-supervised learning, representation learning, table detection
TL;DR: Regularized contrastive learning is effective in self-supervised tabular representation learning
Abstract: Recent advances in self-supervised learning (SSL) using large models to learn visual representations from natural images are rapidly closing the gap between the results produced by fully supervised learning and those produced by SSL on downstream vision tasks. Inspired by this advancement and primarily motivated by the emergence of tabular and structured document image applications, we investigate which self-supervised pretraining objectives, architectures, and fine-tuning strategies are most effective. To address these questions, we introduce RegCLR, a new self-supervised framework that combines contrastive and regularized methods and is compatible with the standard Vision Transformer architecture. Then, RegCLR is instantiated by integrating masked autoencoders as a representative example of a contrastive method and enhanced Barlow Twins as a representative example of a regularized method with configurable input image augmentations in both branches. Several real-world table recognition scenarios (e.g., extracting tables from document images), ranging from standard Word and Latex documents to even more challenging electronic health records (EHR) computer screen images, have been shown to benefit greatly from the representations learned from this new framework, with detection average-precision (AP) improving relatively by 4.8% for Table, 11.8% for Column, and 11.1% for GUI objects over a previous fully supervised baseline on real-world EHR screen images.