Hard Mixtures of Experts for Large Scale Weakly Supervised Vision

CVPR 2017  ·  Sam Gross, Marc'Aurelio Ranzato, Arthur Szlam ·

Training convolutional networks (CNN's) that fit on a single GPU with minibatch stochastic gradient descent has become effective in practice. However, there is still no effective method for training large CNN's that do not fit in the memory of a few GPU cards, or for parallelizing CNN training. In this work we show that a simple hard mixture of experts model can be efficiently trained to good effect on large scale hashtag (multilabel) prediction tasks. Mixture of experts models are not new (Jacobs et. al. 1991, Collobert et. al. 2003), but in the past, researchers have had to devise sophisticated methods to deal with data fragmentation. We show empirically that modern weakly supervised data sets are large enough to support naive partitioning schemes where each data point is assigned to a single expert. Because the experts are independent, training them in parallel is easy, and evaluation is cheap for the size of the model. Furthermore, we show that we can use a single decoding layer for all the experts, allowing a unified feature embedding space. We demonstrate that it is feasible (and in fact relatively painless) to train far larger models than could be practically trained with standard CNN architectures, and that the extra capacity can be well used on current datasets.

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