Explicit Inductive Bias for Transfer Learning with Convolutional Networks


Xuhong LI, Yves Grandvalet, Franck Davoine ;
Proceedings of the 35th International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 80:2825-2834, 2018.


In inductive transfer learning, fine-tuning pre-trained convolutional networks substantially outperforms training from scratch. When using fine-tuning, the underlying assumption is that the pre-trained model extracts generic features, which are at least partially relevant for solving the target task, but would be difficult to extract from the limited amount of data available on the target task. However, besides the initialization with the pre-trained model and the early stopping, there is no mechanism in fine-tuning for retaining the features learned on the source task. In this paper, we investigate several regularization schemes that explicitly promote the similarity of the final solution with the initial model. We show the benefit of having an explicit inductive bias towards the initial model, and we eventually recommend a simple $L^2$ penalty with the pre-trained model being a reference as the baseline of penalty for transfer learning tasks.

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