Improving Generalization in Meta-learning via Task Augmentation
Proceedings of the 38th International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 139:11887-11897, 2021.
Meta-learning has proven to be a powerful paradigm for transferring the knowledge from previous tasks to facilitate the learning of a novel task. Current dominant algorithms train a well-generalized model initialization which is adapted to each task via the support set. The crux lies in optimizing the generalization capability of the initialization, which is measured by the performance of the adapted model on the query set of each task. Unfortunately, this generalization measure, evidenced by empirical results, pushes the initialization to overfit the meta-training tasks, which significantly impairs the generalization and adaptation to novel tasks. To address this issue, we actively augment a meta-training task with “more data” when evaluating the generalization. Concretely, we propose two task augmentation methods, including MetaMix and Channel Shuffle. MetaMix linearly combines features and labels of samples from both the support and query sets. For each class of samples, Channel Shuffle randomly replaces a subset of their channels with the corresponding ones from a different class. Theoretical studies show how task augmentation improves the generalization of meta-learning. Moreover, both MetaMix and Channel Shuffle outperform state-of-the-art results by a large margin across many datasets and are compatible with existing meta-learning algorithms.