Concept Learners for Few-Shot Learning

Kaidi Cao · Maria Brbic · Jure Leskovec

Keywords: [ meta learning ] [ few-shot learning ]

[ Abstract ]
[ Paper ]
Tue 4 May 5 p.m. PDT — 7 p.m. PDT


Developing algorithms that are able to generalize to a novel task given only a few labeled examples represents a fundamental challenge in closing the gap between machine- and human-level performance. The core of human cognition lies in the structured, reusable concepts that help us to rapidly adapt to new tasks and provide reasoning behind our decisions. However, existing meta-learning methods learn complex representations across prior labeled tasks without imposing any structure on the learned representations. Here we propose COMET, a meta-learning method that improves generalization ability by learning to learn along human-interpretable concept dimensions. Instead of learning a joint unstructured metric space, COMET learns mappings of high-level concepts into semi-structured metric spaces, and effectively combines the outputs of independent concept learners. We evaluate our model on few-shot tasks from diverse domains, including fine-grained image classification, document categorization and cell type annotation on a novel dataset from a biological domain developed in our work. COMET significantly outperforms strong meta-learning baselines, achieving 6-15% relative improvement on the most challenging 1-shot learning tasks, while unlike existing methods providing interpretations behind the model's predictions.

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