Modulate Your Spectrum in Self-Supervised Learning

Published: 16 Jan 2024, Last Modified: 08 Mar 2024ICLR 2024 posterEveryoneRevisionsBibTeX
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Keywords: self-supervised learning, whitening, dimensional collapse, spectral transformation, iterative normalization
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TL;DR: The proposed INTL is well motivated, theoretically demonstrated, and empirically validated in avoiding dimensional collapse, and is a promising SSL method in practice.
Abstract: Whitening loss offers a theoretical guarantee against feature collapse in self-supervised learning (SSL) with joint embedding architectures. Typically, it involves a hard whitening approach, transforming the embedding and applying loss to the whitened output. In this work, we introduce Spectral Transformation (ST), a framework to modulate the spectrum of embedding and to seek for functions beyond whitening that can avoid dimensional collapse. We show that whitening is a special instance of ST by definition, and our empirical investigations unveil other ST instances capable of preventing collapse. Additionally, we propose a novel ST instance named IterNorm with trace loss (INTL). Theoretical analysis confirms INTL's efficacy in preventing collapse and modulating the spectrum of embedding toward equal-eigenvalues during optimization. Our experiments on ImageNet classification and COCO object detection demonstrate INTL's potential in learning superior representations. The code is available at
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Primary Area: unsupervised, self-supervised, semi-supervised, and supervised representation learning
Submission Number: 4214