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Learning Common Rationale To Improve Self-Supervised Representation for Fine-Grained Visual Recognition Problems

Yangyang Shu · Anton van den Hengel · Lingqiao Liu

West Building Exhibit Halls ABC 301


Self-supervised learning (SSL) strategies have demonstrated remarkable performance in various recognition tasks. However, both our preliminary investigation and recent studies suggest that they may be less effective in learning representations for fine-grained visual recognition (FGVR) since many features helpful for optimizing SSL objectives are not suitable for characterizing the subtle differences in FGVR. To overcome this issue, we propose learning an additional screening mechanism to identify discriminative clues commonly seen across instances and classes, dubbed as common rationales in this paper. Intuitively, common rationales tend to correspond to the discriminative patterns from the key parts of foreground objects. We show that a common rationale detector can be learned by simply exploiting the GradCAM induced from the SSL objective without using any pre-trained object parts or saliency detectors, making it seamlessly to be integrated with the existing SSL process. Specifically, we fit the GradCAM with a branch with limited fitting capacity, which allows the branch to capture the common rationales and discard the less common discriminative patterns. At the test stage, the branch generates a set of spatial weights to selectively aggregate features representing an instance. Extensive experimental results on four visual tasks demonstrate that the proposed method can lead to a significant improvement in different evaluation settings.

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