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VICReg: Variance-Invariance-Covariance Regularization for Self-Supervised Learning

Adrien Bardes · Jean Ponce · Yann LeCun

Keywords: [ computer vision ] [ self-supervised learning ] [ representation learning ]


Recent self-supervised methods for image representation learning maximize the agreement between embedding vectors produced by encoders fed with different views of the same image. The main challenge is to prevent a collapse in which the encoders produce constant or non-informative vectors. We introduce VICReg (Variance-Invariance-Covariance Regularization), a method that explicitly avoids the collapse problem with two regularizations terms applied to both embeddings separately: (1) a term that maintains the variance of each embedding dimension above a threshold, (2) a term that decorrelates each pair of variables. Unlike most other approaches to the same problem, VICReg does not require techniques such as: weight sharing between the branches, batch normalization, feature-wise normalization, output quantization, stop gradient, memory banks, etc., and achieves results on par with the state of the art on several downstream tasks. In addition, we show that our variance regularization term stabilizes the training of other methods and leads to performance improvements.

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