Enhancing Compositional Generalization via Compositional Feature Alignment

Published: 22 May 2024, Last Modified: 22 May 2024Accepted by TMLREveryoneRevisionsBibTeX
Abstract: Real-world applications of machine learning models often confront data distribution shifts, wherein discrepancies exist between the training and test data distributions. In the common multi-domain multi-class setup, as the number of classes and domains scales up, it becomes infeasible to gather training data for every domain-class combination. This challenge naturally leads the quest for models with Compositional Generalization (CG) ability, where models can generalize to unseen domain-class combinations. To delve into the CG challenge, we develop CG-Bench, a suite of CG benchmarks derived from existing real-world image datasets, and observe that the prevalent pretraining-finetuning paradigm on foundational models, such as CLIP and DINOv2, struggles with the challenge. To address this challenge, we propose Compositional Feature Alignment (CFA), a simple two-stage finetuning technique that i) learns two orthogonal linear heads on a pretrained encoder with respect to class and domain labels, and ii) fine-tunes the encoder with the newly learned head frozen. We theoretically and empirically justify that CFA encourages compositional feature learning of pretrained models. We further conduct extensive experiments on CG-Bench for CLIP and DINOv2, two powerful pretrained vision foundation models. Experiment results show that CFA outperforms common finetuning techniques in compositional generalization, corroborating CFA's efficacy in compositional feature learning.
Submission Length: Regular submission (no more than 12 pages of main content)
Code: https://github.com/Haoxiang-Wang/Compositional-Feature-Alignment
Assigned Action Editor: ~Eleni_Triantafillou1
Submission Number: 2138
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