Expanding Small-Scale Datasets with Guided Imagination

Yifan Zhang · Daquan Zhou · Bryan Hooi · Kai Wang · Jiashi Feng

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #614
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Tue 12 Dec 8:45 a.m. PST — 10:45 a.m. PST


The power of DNNs relies heavily on the quantity and quality of training data. However, collecting and annotating data on a large scale is often expensive and time-consuming. To address this issue, we explore a new task, termed dataset expansion, aimed at expanding a ready-to-use small dataset by automatically creating new labeled samples. To this end, we present a Guided Imagination Framework (GIF) that leverages cutting-edge generative models like DALL-E2 and Stable Diffusion (SD) to "imagine" and create informative new data from the input seed data. Specifically, GIF conducts data imagination by optimizing the latent features of the seed data in the semantically meaningful space of the prior model, resulting in the creation of photo-realistic images with new content. To guide the imagination towards creating informative samples for model training, we introduce two key criteria, i.e., class-maintained information boosting and sample diversity promotion. These criteria are verified to be essential for effective dataset expansion: GIF-SD obtains 13.5% higher model accuracy on natural image datasets than unguided expansion with SD. With these essential criteria, GIF successfully expands small datasets in various scenarios, boosting model accuracy by 36.9% on average over six natural image datasets and by 13.5% on average over three medical datasets. The source code is available at

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