Learning Tree-Structured Composition of Data Augmentation

Published: 23 Jun 2024, Last Modified: 23 Jun 2024Accepted by TMLREveryoneRevisionsBibTeXCC BY-SA 4.0
Abstract: Data augmentation is widely used in scenarios where one needs to train a neural network given little labeled data. A common practice of augmentation training is applying a composition of multiple transformations sequentially to the data. Existing augmentation methods such as RandAugment rely on domain expertise to select a list of transformations, while other methods such as AutoAugment formulate an optimization problem over a search space of size $k^d$, which is the number of sequences of length $d$, given a list of $k$ transformation functions. In this paper, we focus on designing efficient algorithms whose running time complexity is much faster than the worst-case complexity of $O(k^d)$, provably. We propose a new algorithm to search for a binary tree-structured composition of $k$ transformations, where each tree node corresponds to one transformation. The binary tree generalizes sequential augmentations, such as the one constructed by SimCLR. Using a top-down, recursive search procedure, our algorithm achieves a runtime complexity of $O(2^d k)$, which is much faster than $O(k^d)$ as $k$ increases above $2$. We apply the algorithm to tackle data distributions with heterogeneous subpopulations, by searching for one tree in each subpopulation, and then learn a weighted combination, leading to a forest of the trees. We validate the proposed algorithms on numerous graph and image data sets, including a multi-label graph classification data set we collected. The data set exhibits significant variations in the sizes of graphs and their average degrees, making it ideal for studying data augmentation. We show that our approach can reduce the computation cost (measured by GPU hours) by 43% over existing augmentation search methods while improving performance by 4.3%. Extensive experiments on contrastive learning also validate the benefit of our approach. The tree structures can be used to interpret the relative importance of each transformation, such as identifying the important transformations on small vs. large graphs.
Submission Length: Long submission (more than 12 pages of main content)
Code: https://github.com/VirtuosoResearch/Tree-data-augmentation
Assigned Action Editor: ~Olgica_Milenkovic1
Submission Number: 2396