MetaModulation: Learning Variational Feature Hierarchies for Few-Shot Learning with Fewer Tasks


Meta-learning algorithms are able to learn a new task using previously learned knowledge, but they often require a large number of meta-training tasks which may not be readily available. To address this issue, we propose a method for few-shot learning with fewer tasks, which we call MetaModulation. The key idea is to use a neural network to increase the density of the meta-training tasks by modulating batch normalization parameters during meta-training. Additionally, we modify parameters at various network levels, rather than just a single layer, to increase task diversity. To account for the uncertainty caused by the limited training tasks, we propose a variational MetaModulation where the modulation parameters are treated as latent variables. We also introduce learning variational feature hierarchies by the variational MetaModulation, which modulates features at all layers and can consider task uncertainty and generate more diverse tasks. The ablation studies illustrate the advantages of utilizing a learnable task modulation at different levels and demonstrate the benefit of incorporating probabilistic variants in few-task meta-learning. Our MetaModulation and its variational variants consistently outperform state-of-the-art alternatives on four few-task meta-learning benchmarks.

ICML 2023