Bridging the Gap: Neural Collapse Inspired Prompt Tuning for Generalization under Class Imbalance


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Large-scale vision-language (V-L) models have demonstrated remarkable generalization capabilities for downstream tasks through prompt tuning. However, their performance suffers significantly in the presence of class imbalance, a common issue in real-world scenarios. In this paper, we investigate the effects of class imbalance on the generalization performance of V-L models and extend Neural Collapse phenomenon to these models, revealing the geometric reasons behind the impact of class imbalance on their generalization ability. To address this problem, we propose Neural Collapse based Prompt Tuning (NPT), a novel method that optimizes prompts so that both text and image features satisfy the same simplex ETF structure. NPT incorporates two regularization terms, geometric de-biasing and multi-modal isomorphism, to enhance the robustness of V-L models under class imbalance conditions while maintaining their generalization capabilities. Our comprehensive experiments show that NPT outperforms existing prompt learning techniques across 11 diverse image recognition datasets, achieving an absolute average gain of 2.63\% for novel classes and 2.47\% for harmonic mean when facing imbalanced data.
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