Contrastive Attraction and Contrastive Repulsion for Representation Learning

Published: 24 Jul 2023, Last Modified: 24 Jul 2023Accepted by TMLREveryoneRevisionsBibTeX
Abstract: Contrastive learning (CL) methods effectively learn data representations in a self-supervision manner, where the encoder contrasts each positive sample over multiple negative samples via a one-vs-many softmax cross-entropy loss. By leveraging large amounts of unlabeled image data, recent CL methods have achieved promising results when pretrained on large-scale datasets, such as ImageNet. However, most of them consider the augmented views from the same instance are positive pairs, while views from other instances are negative ones. Such binary partition insufficiently considers the relation between samples and tends to yield worse performance when generalized on images in the wild. In this paper, to further improve the performance of CL and enhance its robustness on various datasets, we propose a doubly CL strategy that contrasts positive samples and negative ones within themselves separately. We realize this strategy with contrastive attraction and contrastive repulsion (CACR), which makes the query not only exert a greater force to attract more distant positive samples but also do so to repel closer negative samples. Theoretical analysis reveals that CACR generalizes CL's behavior by positive attraction and negative repulsion. It further considers the intra-contrastive relation within the positive and negative pairs to narrow the gap between the sampled and true distribution, which is important when datasets are less curated. Extensive large-scale experiments on standard vision tasks show that CACR not only consistently outperforms existing CL methods on benchmark datasets, but also shows better robustness when generalized on imbalanced image datasets.
Submission Length: Regular submission (no more than 12 pages of main content)
Supplementary Material: zip
Assigned Action Editor: ~Yanwei_Fu2
License: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Submission Number: 1116