Propheter: Prophetic Teacher Guided Long-Tailed Distribution Learning

by   Wenxiang Xu, et al.

The problem of deep long-tailed learning, a prevalent challenge in the realm of generic visual recognition, persists in a multitude of real-world applications. To tackle the heavily-skewed dataset issue in long-tailed classification, prior efforts have sought to augment existing deep models with the elaborate class-balancing strategies, such as class rebalancing, data augmentation, and module improvement. Despite the encouraging performance, the limited class knowledge of the tailed classes in the training dataset still bottlenecks the performance of the existing deep models. In this paper, we propose an innovative long-tailed learning paradigm that breaks the bottleneck by guiding the learning of deep networks with external prior knowledge. This is specifically achieved by devising an elaborated “prophetic” teacher, termed as “Propheter”, that aims to learn the potential class distributions. The target long-tailed prediction model is then optimized under the instruction of the well-trained “Propheter”, such that the distributions of different classes are as distinguishable as possible from each other. Experiments on eight long-tailed benchmarks across three architectures demonstrate that the proposed prophetic paradigm acts as a promising solution to the challenge of limited class knowledge in long-tailed datasets. Our code and model can be found in the supplementary material.


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