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Separating common from salient patterns with Contrastive Representation Learning

Robin Louiset · Edouard Duchesnay · Grigis Antoine · Pietro Gori

Halle B #122
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Wed 8 May 7:30 a.m. PDT — 9:30 a.m. PDT


Contrastive Analysis is a sub-field of Representation Learning that aims at separating 1) salient factors of variation - that only exist in the target dataset (i.e., diseased subjects) in contrast with 2) common factors of variation between target and background (i.e., healthy subjects) datasets. Despite their relevance, current models based on Variational Auto-Encoders have shown poor performance in learning semantically-expressive representations. On the other hand, Contrastive Representation Learning has shown tremendous performance leaps in various applications (classification, clustering, etc.). In this work, we propose to leverage the ability of Contrastive Learning to learn semantically expressive representations when performing Contrastive Analysis. Namely, we reformulate Contrastive Analysis under the lens of the InfoMax Principle and identify two Mutual Information terms to maximize and one to minimize. We decompose the two first terms into an Alignment and a Uniformity term, as commonly done in Contrastive Learning. Then, we motivate a novel Mutual Information minimization strategy to prevent information leakage between common and salient distributions. We validate our method on datasets designed to assess the pattern separation capability in Contrastive Analysis, including MNIST superimposed on CIFAR10, CelebA accessories, dSprites item superimposed on a digit grid, and three medical datasets.

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