Masked Unsupervised Self-training for Label-free Image Classification

Junnan Li, Silvio Savarese, Steven C. H. Hoi


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State-of-the-art computer vision models are mostly trained with supervised learning using human-labeled images, which limits their scalability due to the expensive annotation cost. While self-supervised representation learning has achieved impressive progress, it still requires a second stage of finetuning on labeled data. On the other hand, models pre-trained with large-scale text-image supervision (e.g., CLIP) have enabled zero-shot transfer to downstream image classification tasks. However, the zero-shot performance of CLIP-like models are often insufficient for real-world adoption. In this paper, we aim to leverage the abundant unlabeled data from a target domain to improve the performance of a pre-trained zero-shot classifier, by unsupervised finetuning of the pre-trained model. We propose Masked Unsupervised Self-Training (MUST), a new unsupervised adaptation method which leverages two different and complementary sources of training signals: pseudo-labels and raw images. MUST jointly optimizes three objectives to learn both class-level global feature and pixel-level local feature and enforces a regularization between the two. We demonstrate the efficacy of MUST on a variety of downstream tasks, where it improves upon CLIP by a large margin. MUST also outperforms supervised few-shot adaptation methods. It achieves a top-1 accuracy of 77.7% on ImageNet using ViT-B, +9.4% higher than CLIP, and +6.2% higher than 16-shot CLIP adaptation. Our code is available at
zero-shot classification,unsupervised learning,self-training,CLIP,masked image modeling
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