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Semi-supervised Vision Transformers at Scale

Zhaowei Cai · Avinash Ravichandran · Paolo Favaro · Manchen Wang · Davide Modolo · Rahul Bhotika · Zhuowen Tu · Stefano Soatto

Hall J (level 1) #141


We study semi-supervised learning (SSL) for vision transformers (ViT), an under-explored topic despite the wide adoption of the ViT architectures to different tasks. To tackle this problem, we use a SSL pipeline, consisting of first un/self-supervised pre-training, followed by supervised fine-tuning, and finally semi-supervised fine-tuning. At the semi-supervised fine-tuning stage, we adopt an exponential moving average (EMA)-Teacher framework instead of the popular FixMatch, since the former is more stable and delivers higher accuracy for semi-supervised vision transformers. In addition, we propose a probabilistic pseudo mixup mechanism to interpolate unlabeled samples and their pseudo labels for improved regularization, which is important for training ViTs with weak inductive bias. Our proposed method, dubbed Semi-ViT, achieves comparable or better performance than the CNN counterparts in the semi-supervised classification setting. Semi-ViT also enjoys the scalability benefits of ViTs that can be readily scaled up to large-size models with increasing accuracy. For example, Semi-ViT-Huge achieves an impressive 80\% top-1 accuracy on ImageNet using only 1\% labels, which is comparable with Inception-v4 using 100\% ImageNet labels. The code is available at

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