Best Practices in Pool-based Active Learning for Image Classification

29 Sep 2021  ·  Adrian Lang, Christoph Mayer, Radu Timofte ·

The recent popularity of active learning (AL) methods for image classification using deep-learning has led to a large number of publications that lead to significant progress in the field. Benchmarking the latest works in an exhaustive and unified way and evaluating the improvements made by the novel methods is of key importance to advance the research in AL. Reproducing state-of-the-art AL methods is often cumbersome, since the results and the ranking order of different strategies are highly dependent on several factors, such as training settings, used data type, network architectures, loss function and more. With our work we highlight the main factors that should be considered when proposing new AL strategies. In addition, we provide solid benchmarks to compare new with existing methods. We therefore conduct a comprehensive study on the influence of these key aspects, providing best practices in pool-based AL for image classification. We emphasize aspects such as the importance of using data augmentation, the need of separating the contribution of a classification network and the acquisition strategy to the overall performance, the advantages that a proper initialization of the network can bring to AL. Moreover, we make a new codebase available, that enables state-of-the-art performance for the investigated methods, which we hope will serve the AL community as a new starting point when proposing new AL strategies.

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