Keywords: self-supervised learning, representation learning, domain-agnostic
Abstract: Most self-supervised learning (SSL) methods rely on domain-specific pretext tasks and data augmentations to learn high-quality representations from unlabeled data. Development of those pretext tasks and data augmentations requires expert domain knowledge. In addition, it is not clear why solving certain pretext tasks leads to useful representations. Those two reasons hinder wider application of SSL to different domains. To overcome such limitations, we propose adversarial perturbation based latent reconstruction (APLR) for domain-agnostic self-supervised learning. In APLR, a neural network is trained to generate adversarial noise to perturb the unlabeled training sample so that domain-specific augmentations are not required. The pretext task in APLR is to reconstruct the latent representation of a clean sample from a perturbed sample. We show that representation learning via latent reconstruction is closely related to multi-dimensional Hirschfeld-Gebelein-Rényi (HGR) maximal correlation and has theoretical guarantees on the linear probe error. To demonstrate the effectiveness of APLR, the proposed method is applied to various domains such as tabular data, images, and audios. Empirical results indicate that APLR not only outperforms existing domain-agnostic SSL methods, but also closes the performance gap to domain-specific SSL methods. In many cases, APLR also outperforms training the full network in a supervised manner.
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