Trash to Treasure: Harvesting OOD Data with Cross-Modal Matching for Open-Set Semi-Supervised Learning

Open-set semi-supervised learning (open-set SSL) investigates a challenging but practical scenario where out-of-distribution (OOD) samples are contained in the unlabeled data. While the mainstream technique seeks to completely filter out the OOD samples for semi-supervised learning (SSL), we propose a novel training mechanism that could effectively exploit the presence of OOD data for enhanced feature learning while avoiding its adverse impact on the SSL. We achieve this goal by first introducing a warm-up training that leverages all the unlabeled data, including both the in-distribution (ID) and OOD samples. Specifically, we perform a pretext task that enforces our feature extractor to obtain a high-level semantic understanding of the training images, leading to more discriminative features that can benefit the downstream tasks. Since the OOD samples are inevitably detrimental to SSL, we propose a novel cross-modal matching strategy to detect OOD samples. Instead of directly applying binary classification, we train the network to predict whether the data sample is matched to an assigned one-hot class label. The appeal of the proposed cross-modal matching over binary classification is the ability to generate a compatible feature space that aligns with the core classification task. Extensive experiments show that our approach substantially lifts the performance on open-set SSL and outperforms the state-of-the-art by a large margin.

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