Improving Generalization in Meta-Learning via Meta-Gradient Augmentation

14 Jun 2023  ·  Ren Wang, Haoliang Sun, Qi Wei, Xiushan Nie, Yuling Ma, Yilong Yin ·

Meta-learning methods typically follow a two-loop framework, where each loop potentially suffers from notorious overfitting, hindering rapid adaptation and generalization to new tasks. Existing schemes solve it by enhancing the mutual-exclusivity or diversity of training samples, but these data manipulation strategies are data-dependent and insufficiently flexible. This work alleviates overfitting in meta-learning from the perspective of gradient regularization and proposes a data-independent \textbf{M}eta-\textbf{G}radient \textbf{Aug}mentation (\textbf{MGAug}) method. The key idea is to first break the rote memories by network pruning to address memorization overfitting in the inner loop, and then the gradients of pruned sub-networks naturally form the high-quality augmentation of the meta-gradient to alleviate learner overfitting in the outer loop. Specifically, we explore three pruning strategies, including \textit{random width pruning}, \textit{random parameter pruning}, and a newly proposed \textit{catfish pruning} that measures a Meta-Memorization Carrying Amount (MMCA) score for each parameter and prunes high-score ones to break rote memories as much as possible. The proposed MGAug is theoretically guaranteed by the generalization bound from the PAC-Bayes framework. In addition, we extend a lightweight version, called MGAug-MaxUp, as a trade-off between performance gains and resource overhead. Extensive experiments on multiple few-shot learning benchmarks validate MGAug's effectiveness and significant improvement over various meta-baselines. The code is publicly available at \url{}.

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