Adapting Shortcut With Normalizing Flow: An Efficient Tuning Framework for Visual Recognition

Yaoming Wang · Bowen Shi · Xiaopeng Zhang · Jin Li · Yuchen Liu · Wenrui Dai · Chenglin Li · Hongkai Xiong · Qi Tian

West Building Exhibit Halls ABC 344
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Wed 21 Jun 4:30 p.m. PDT — 6 p.m. PDT


Pretraining followed by fine-tuning has proven to be effective in visual recognition tasks. However, fine-tuning all parameters can be computationally expensive, particularly for large-scale models. To mitigate the computational and storage demands, recent research has explored Parameter-Efficient Fine-Tuning (PEFT), which focuses on tuning a minimal number of parameters for efficient adaptation. Existing methods, however, fail to analyze the impact of the additional parameters on the model, resulting in an unclear and suboptimal tuning process. In this paper, we introduce a novel and effective PEFT paradigm, named SNF (Shortcut adaptation via Normalization Flow), which utilizes normalizing flows to adjust the shortcut layers. We highlight that layers without Lipschitz constraints can lead to error propagation when adapting to downstream datasets. Since modifying the over-parameterized residual connections in these layers is expensive, we focus on adjusting the cheap yet crucial shortcuts. Moreover, learning new information with few parameters in PEFT can be challenging, and information loss can result in label information degradation. To address this issue, we propose an information-preserving normalizing flow. Experimental results demonstrate the effectiveness of SNF. Specifically, with only 0.036M parameters, SNF surpasses previous approaches on both the FGVC and VTAB-1k benchmarks using ViT/B-16 as the backbone. The code is available at

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