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Embarrassingly Simple Dataset Distillation

Yunzhen Feng · Shanmukha Ramakrishna Vedantam · Julia Kempe

Halle B #271
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Thu 9 May 1:45 a.m. PDT — 3:45 a.m. PDT


Dataset distillation extracts a small set of synthetic training samples from a large dataset with the goal of achieving competitive performance on test data when trained on this sample. In this work, we tackle dataset distillation at its core by treating it directly as a bilevel optimization problem. Re-examining the foundational back-propagation through time method, we study the pronounced variance in the gradients, computational burden, and long-term dependencies. We introduce an improved method: Random Truncated Backpropagation Through Time (RaT-BPTT) to address them. RaT-BPTT incorporates a truncation coupled with a random window, effectively stabilizing the gradients and speeding up the optimization while covering long dependencies. This allows us to establish new state-of-the-art for a variety of standard dataset benchmarks. A deeper dive into the nature of distilled data unveils pronounced intercorrelation. In particular, subsets of distilled datasets tend to exhibit much worse performance than directly distilled smaller datasets of the same size. Leveraging RaT-BPTT, we devise a boosting mechanism that generates distilled datasets that contain subsets with near optimal performance across different data budgets.

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