No One Left Behind: Improving the Worst Categories in Long-Tailed Learning

Yingxiao Du · Jianxin Wu

West Building Exhibit Halls ABC 329
[ Abstract ]
Wed 21 Jun 4:30 p.m. PDT — 6 p.m. PDT


Unlike the case when using a balanced training dataset, the per-class recall (i.e., accuracy) of neural networks trained with an imbalanced dataset are known to vary a lot from category to category. The convention in long-tailed recognition is to manually split all categories into three subsets and report the average accuracy within each subset. We argue that under such an evaluation setting, some categories are inevitably sacrificed. On one hand, focusing on the average accuracy on a balanced test set incurs little penalty even if some worst performing categories have zero accuracy. On the other hand, classes in the “Few” subset do not necessarily perform worse than those in the “Many” or “Medium” subsets. We therefore advocate to focus more on improving the lowest recall among all categories and the harmonic mean of all recall values. Specifically, we propose a simple plug-in method that is applicable to a wide range of methods. By simply re-training the classifier of an existing pre-trained model with our proposed loss function and using an optional ensemble trick that combines the predictions of the two classifiers, we achieve a more uniform distribution of recall values across categories, which leads to a higher harmonic mean accuracy while the (arithmetic) average accuracy is still high. The effectiveness of our method is justified on widely used benchmark datasets.

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