Hybrid Generative-Contrastive Representation Learning

06/11/2021 ∙ by Saehoon Kim, et al. ∙ 0

Unsupervised representation learning has recently received lots of interest due to its powerful generalizability through effectively leveraging large-scale unlabeled data. There are two prevalent approaches for this, contrastive learning and generative pre-training, where the former learns representations from instance-wise discrimination tasks and the latter learns them from estimating the likelihood. These seemingly orthogonal approaches have their own strengths and weaknesses. Contrastive learning tends to extract semantic information and discards details irrelevant for classifying objects, making the representations effective for discriminative tasks while degrading robustness to out-of-distribution data. On the other hand, the generative pre-training directly estimates the data distribution, so the representations tend to be robust but not optimal for discriminative tasks. In this paper, we show that we could achieve the best of both worlds by a hybrid training scheme. Specifically, we demonstrated that a transformer-based encoder-decoder architecture trained with both contrastive and generative losses can learn highly discriminative and robust representations without hurting the generative performance. We extensively validate our approach on various tasks.

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