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Discover and Align Taxonomic Context Priors for Open-world Semi-Supervised Learning

Yu Wang · Yu Wang · Zhun Zhong · Pengchong Qiao · Xuxin Cheng · Xiawu Zheng · Xiawu Zheng · Chang Liu · Nicu Sebe · Rongrong Ji · Jie Chen

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #1201


Open-world Semi-Supervised Learning (OSSL) is a realistic and challenging task, aiming to classify unlabeled samples from both seen and novel classes using partially labeled samples from the seen classes. Previous works typically explore the relationship of samples as priors on the pre-defined single-granularity labels to help novel class recognition. In fact, classes follow a taxonomy and samples can be classified at multiple levels of granularity, which contains more underlying relationships for supervision. We thus argue that learning with single-granularity labels results in sub-optimal representation learning and inaccurate pseudo labels, especially with unknown classes. In this paper, we take the initiative to explore and propose a uniformed framework, called Taxonomic context prIors Discovering and Aligning (TIDA), which exploits the relationship of samples under various granularity. It allows us to discover multi-granularity semantic concepts as taxonomic context priors (i.e., sub-class, target-class, and super-class), and then collaboratively leverage them to enhance representation learning and improve the quality of pseudo labels.Specifically, TIDA comprises two components: i) A taxonomic context discovery module that constructs a set of hierarchical prototypes in the latent space to discover the underlying taxonomic context priors; ii) A taxonomic context-based prediction alignment module that enforces consistency across hierarchical predictions to build the reliable relationship between classes among various granularity and provide additions supervision. We demonstrate that these two components are mutually beneficial for an effective OSSL framework, which is theoretically explained from the perspective of the EM algorithm. Extensive experiments on seven commonly used datasets show that TIDA can significantly improve the performance and achieve a new state of the art. The source codes are publicly available at

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