Learning with Noisy Labels Revisited: A Study Using Real-World Human Annotations

Jiaheng Wei · Zhaowei Zhu · Hao Cheng · Tongliang Liu · Gang Niu · Yang Liu

Keywords: [ benchmark ] [ Learning with noisy labels ]

[ Abstract ]
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Existing research on learning with noisy labels mainly focuses on synthetic label noise. The synthetic noise, though has clean structures which greatly enabled statistical analyses, often fails to model the real-world noise patterns. The recent literature has observed several efforts to offer real-world noisy datasets, e.g., Food-101N, WebVision, and Clothing1M. Yet the existing efforts suffer from two caveats: firstly, the lack of ground-truth verification makes it hard to theoretically study the property and treatment of real-world label noise. Secondly, these efforts are often of large scales, which may result in unfair comparisons of robust methods within reasonable and accessible computation power. To better understand real-world label noise, it is important to establish controllable, easy-to-use, and moderate-sized real-world noisy datasets with both ground-truth and noisy labels. This work presents two new benchmark datasets, which we name as CIFAR-10N, CIFAR-100N (jointly we call them CIFAR-N), equipping the training datasets of CIFAR-10 and CIFAR-100 with human-annotated real-world noisy labels we collected from Amazon Mechanical Turk. We quantitatively and qualitatively show that real-world noisy labels follow an instance-dependent pattern rather than the classically assumed and adopted ones (e.g., class-dependent label noise). We then initiate an effort to benchmarking a subset of the existing solutions using CIFAR-10N and CIFAR-100N. We further proceed to study the memorization of correct and wrong predictions, which further illustrates the difference between human noise and class-dependent synthetic noise. We show indeed the real-world noise patterns impose new and outstanding challenges as compared to synthetic label noise. These observations require us to rethink the treatment of noisy labels, and we hope the availability of these two datasets would facilitate the development and evaluation of future learning with noisy label solutions. The corresponding datasets and the leaderboard are available at

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