One-Shot Learning with a Hierarchical Nonparametric Bayesian Model


Ruslan Salakhutdinov, Joshua Tenenbaum, Antonio Torralba ;
Proceedings of ICML Workshop on Unsupervised and Transfer Learning, PMLR 27:195-206, 2012.


We develop a hierarchical Bayesian model that learns categories from single training examples. The model transfers acquired knowledge from previously learned categories to a novel category, in the form of a prior over category means and variances. The model discovers how to group categories into meaningful super-categories that express different priors for new classes. Given a single example of a novel category, we can efficiently infer which super-category the novel category belongs to, and thereby estimate not only the new categories mean but also an appropriate similarity metric based on parameters inherited from the super-category. On MNIST and MSR Cambridge image datasets the model learns useful representations of novel categories based on just a single training example, and performs significantly better than simpler hierarchical Bayesian approaches. It can also discover new categories in a completely unsupervised fashion, given just one or a few examples.

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