- Abstract: In this paper, we propose a method, named EqCo (Equivalent Rules for Contrastive Learning), to make self-supervised learning irrelevant to the number of negative samples in the contrastive learning framework. Inspired by the infomax principle, we point that the margin term in contrastive loss needs to be adaptively scaled according to the number of negative pairs in order to keep steady mutual information bound and gradient magnitude. EqCo bridges the performance gap among a wide range of negative sample sizes, so that for the first time, we can perform self-supervised contrastive training using only a few negative pairs (e.g.smaller than 256 per query) on large-scale vision tasks like ImageNet, while with little accuracy drop. This is quite a contrast to the widely used large batch training or memory bank mechanism in current practices. Equipped with EqCo, our simplified MoCo (SiMo) achieves comparable accuracy with MoCo v2 on ImageNet (linear evaluation protocol) while only involves 16 negative pairs per query instead of 65536, suggesting that large quantities of negative samples might not be a critical factor in contrastive learning frameworks.
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