Keywords: self-supervised learning, deep learning, manifold, generalization
TL;DR: We introduce the Representation manifold quality metric (RMQM), which measures the structure of the learned representation manifold, where we then show that RMQM correlates positively to the generalisation of neural networks to downstream tasks.
Abstract: Pretraining methods are typically compared by evaluating the accuracy of linear classifiers, transfer learning performance, or visually inspecting the representation manifold's (RM) lower-dimensional projections. We show that the differences between methods can be understood more clearly by investigating the RM directly, which allows for a more detailed comparison. To this end, we propose a framework and new metric to measure and compare different RMs. We also investigate and report on the RM characteristics for various pretraining methods. These characteristics are measured by applying sequentially larger local alterations to the input data, using white noise injections and Projected Gradient Descent (PGD) adversarial attacks, and then tracking each datapoint. We calculate the total distance moved for each datapoint and the relative change in distance between successive alterations. We show that self-supervised methods learn an RM where alterations lead to large but constant size changes, indicating a smoother RM than fully supervised methods. We then combine these measurements into one metric, the Representation Manifold Quality Metric (RMQM), where larger values indicate larger and less variable step sizes, and show that RMQM correlates positively with performance on downstream tasks.