Learning Generalizable Visual Patterns Without Human Supervision - PhDData

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Learning Generalizable Visual Patterns Without Human Supervision

The thesis was published by Jenni, Simon, in September 2022, University of Bern.


Owing to the existence of large labeled datasets, Deep Convolutional Neural Networks have ushered in a renaissance in computer vision. However, almost all of the visual data we generate daily – several human lives worth of it – remains unlabeled and thus out of reach of today’s dominant supervised learning paradigm. This thesis focuses on techniques that steer deep models towards learning generalizable visual patterns without human supervision. Our primary tool in this endeavor is the design of Self-Supervised Learning tasks, i.e., pretext-tasks for which labels do not involve human labor. Besides enabling the learning from large amounts of unlabeled data, we demonstrate how self-supervision can capture relevant patterns that supervised learning largely misses. For example, we design learning tasks that learn deep representations capturing shape from images, motion from video, and 3D pose features from multi-view data. Notably, these tasks’ design follows a common principle: The recognition of data transformations. The strong performance of the learned representations on downstream vision tasks such as classification, segmentation, action recognition, or pose estimation validate this pretext-task design.

This thesis also explores the use of Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) for unsupervised representation learning. Besides leveraging generative adversarial learning to define image transformation for self-supervised learning tasks, we also address training instabilities of GANs through the use of noise.

While unsupervised techniques can significantly reduce the burden of supervision, in the end, we still rely on some annotated examples to fine-tune learned representations towards a target task. To improve the learning from scarce or noisy labels, we describe a supervised learning algorithm with improved generalization in these challenging settings.

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