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Difficulty-Based Sampling for Debiased Contrastive Representation Learning

Taeuk Jang · Xiaoqian Wang

West Building Exhibit Halls ABC 328


Contrastive learning is a self-supervised representation learning method that achieves milestone performance in various classification tasks. However, due to its unsupervised fashion, it suffers from the false negative sample problem: randomly drawn negative samples that are assumed to have a different label but actually have the same label as the anchor. This deteriorates the performance of contrastive learning as it contradicts the motivation of contrasting semantically similar and dissimilar pairs. This raised the attention and the importance of finding legitimate negative samples, which should be addressed by distinguishing between 1) true vs. false negatives; 2) easy vs. hard negatives. However, previous works were limited to the statistical approach to handle false negative and hard negative samples with hyperparameters tuning. In this paper, we go beyond the statistical approach and explore the connection between hard negative samples and data bias. We introduce a novel debiased contrastive learning method to explore hard negatives by relative difficulty referencing the bias-amplifying counterpart. We propose triplet loss for training a biased encoder that focuses more on easy negative samples. We theoretically show that the triplet loss amplifies the bias in self-supervised representation learning. Finally, we empirically show the proposed method improves downstream classification performance.

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