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Delving into Out-of-Distribution Detection with Vision-Language Representations

Yifei Ming · Ziyang Cai · Jiuxiang Gu · Yiyou Sun · Wei Li · Yixuan Li

Hall J (level 1) #137


Recognizing out-of-distribution (OOD) samples is critical for machine learning systems deployed in the open world. The vast majority of OOD detection methods are driven by a single modality (e.g., either vision or language), leaving the rich information in multi-modal representations untapped. Inspired by the recent success of vision-language pre-training, this paper enriches the landscape of OOD detection from a single-modal to a multi-modal regime. Particularly, we propose Maximum Concept Matching (MCM), a simple yet effective zero-shot OOD detection method based on aligning visual features with textual concepts. We contribute in-depth analysis and theoretical insights to understand the effectiveness of MCM. Extensive experiments demonstrate that MCM achieves superior performance on a wide variety of real-world tasks. MCM with vision-language features outperforms a common baseline with pure visual features on a hard OOD task with semantically similar classes by 13.1% (AUROC) Code is available at

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