Rethinking Data Augmentation for Robust Visual Question Answering

18 Jul 2022  ·  Long Chen, Yuhang Zheng, Jun Xiao ·

Data Augmentation (DA) -- generating extra training samples beyond original training set -- has been widely-used in today's unbiased VQA models to mitigate the language biases. Current mainstream DA strategies are synthetic-based methods, which synthesize new samples by either editing some visual regions/words, or re-generating them from scratch. However, these synthetic samples are always unnatural and error-prone. To avoid this issue, a recent DA work composes new augmented samples by randomly pairing pristine images and other human-written questions. Unfortunately, to guarantee augmented samples have reasonable ground-truth answers, they manually design a set of heuristic rules for several question types, which extremely limits its generalization abilities. To this end, we propose a new Knowledge Distillation based Data Augmentation for VQA, dubbed KDDAug. Specifically, we first relax the requirements of reasonable image-question pairs, which can be easily applied to any question types. Then, we design a knowledge distillation (KD) based answer assignment to generate pseudo answers for all composed image-question pairs, which are robust to both in-domain and out-of-distribution settings. Since KDDAug is a model-agnostic DA strategy, it can be seamlessly incorporated into any VQA architectures. Extensive ablation studies on multiple backbones and benchmarks have demonstrated the effectiveness and generalization abilities of KDDAug.

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