Adaptive Confidence Smoothing for Generalized Zero-Shot Learning

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Generalized zero-shot learning (GZSL) is the problem of learning a classifier where some classes have samples and others are learned from side information, like semantic attributes or text description, in a zero-shot learning fashion (ZSL). Training a single model that operates in these two regimes simultaneously is challenging. Here we describe a probabilistic approach that breaks the model into three modular components, and then combines them in a consistent way. Specifically, our model consists of three classifiers: A "gating" model that makes soft decisions if a sample is from a "seen" class, and two experts: a ZSL expert, and an expert model for seen classes.

We address two main difficulties in this approach: How to provide an accurate estimate of the gating probability without any training samples for unseen classes; and how to use expert predictions when it observes samples outside of its domain. The key insight to our approach is to pass information between the three models to improve each one's accuracy, while maintaining the modular structure. We test our approach, adaptive confidence smoothing (COSMO), on four standard GZSL benchmark datasets and find that it largely outperforms state-of-the-art GZSL models. COSMO is also the first model that closes the gap and surpasses the performance of generative models for GZSL, even-though it is a light-weight model that is much easier to train and tune.

Notably, COSMO offers a new view for developing zero-shot models. Thanks to COSMO's modular structure, instead of trying to perform well both on seen and on unseen classes, models can focus on accurate classification of unseen classes, and later consider seen class models.

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