Does progress on ImageNet transfer to real-world datasets?

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Datasets and Benchmarks Track

Bibtex Paper


Alex Fang, Simon Kornblith, Ludwig Schmidt


Does progress on ImageNet transfer to real-world datasets? We investigate this question by evaluating ImageNet pre-trained models with varying accuracy (57% - 83%) on six practical image classification datasets. In particular, we study datasets collected with the goal of solving real-world tasks (e.g., classifying images from camera traps or satellites), as opposed to web-scraped benchmarks collected for comparing models. On multiple datasets, models with higher ImageNet accuracy do not consistently yield performance improvements. For certain tasks, interventions such as data augmentation improve performance even when architectures do not. We hope that future benchmarks will include more diverse datasets to encourage a more comprehensive approach to improving learning algorithms.