Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022) Main Conference Track
Kyungmin Lee, Jinwoo Shin
Contrastive representation learning seeks to acquire useful representations by estimating the shared information between multiple views of data. Here, the choice of data augmentation is sensitive to the quality of learned representations: as harder the data augmentations are applied, the views share more task-relevant information, but also task-irrelevant one that can hinder the generalization capability of representation. Motivated by this, we present a new robust contrastive learning scheme, coined RényiCL, which can effectively manage harder augmentations by utilizing Rényi divergence. Our method is built upon the variational lower bound of a Rényi divergence, but a naive usage of a variational method exhibits unstable training due to the large variance. To tackle this challenge, we propose a novel contrastive objective that conducts variational estimation of a skew Renyi divergence and provides a theoretical guarantee on how variational estimation of skew divergence leads to stable training. We show that Rényi contrastive learning objectives perform innate hard negative sampling and easy positive sampling simultaneously so that it can selectively learn useful features and ignore nuisance features. Through experiments on ImageNet, we show that Rényi contrastive learning with stronger augmentations outperforms other self-supervised methods without extra regularization or computational overhead. Also, we validate our method on various domains such as graph and tabular datasets, showing empirical gain over original contrastive methods.