Bridging the Gap from Asymmetry Tricks to Decorrelation Principles in Non-contrastive Self-supervised Learning

Kang-Jun Liu · Masanori Suganuma · Takayuki Okatani

Hall J #440


Recent non-contrastive methods for self-supervised representation learning show promising performance. While they are attractive since they do not need negative samples, it necessitates some mechanism to avoid collapsing into a trivial solution. Currently, there are two approaches to collapse prevention. One uses an asymmetric architecture on a joint embedding of input, e.g., BYOL and SimSiam, and the other imposes decorrelation criteria on the same joint embedding, e.g., Barlow-Twins and VICReg. The latter methods have theoretical support from information theory as to why they can learn good representation. However, it is not fully understood why the former performs equally well. In this paper, focusing on BYOL/SimSiam, which uses the stop-gradient and a predictor as asymmetric tricks, we present a novel interpretation of these tricks; they implicitly impose a constraint that encourages feature decorrelation similar to Barlow-Twins/VICReg. We then present a novel non-contrastive method, which replaces the stop-gradient in BYOL/SimSiam with the derived constraint; the method empirically shows comparable performance to the above SOTA methods in the standard benchmark test using ImageNet. This result builds a bridge from BYOL/SimSiam to the decorrelation-based methods, contributing to demystifying their secrets.

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