Improving Fine-Grained Visual Recognition in Low Data Regimes via Self-Boosting Attention Mechanism
"The challenge of fine-grained visual recognition often lies in discovering the key discriminative regions. While such regions can be automatically identified from a large-scale labeled dataset, a similar method might become less effective when only a few annotations are available. In low data regimes, a network often struggles to choose the correct regions for recognition and tends to overfit spurious correlated patterns from the training data. To tackle this issue, this paper proposes the self-boosting attention mechanism, a novel method for regularizing the network to focus on the key regions shared across samples and classes. Specifically, the proposed method first generates an attention map for each training image, highlighting the discriminative part for identifying the ground-truth object category. Then the generated attention maps are used as pseudo-annotations. The network is enforced to fit them as an auxiliary task. We call this approach the self-boosting attention mechanism (SAM). We also develop a variant by using SAM to create multiple attention maps to pool convolutional maps in a style of bilinear pooling, dubbed SAM-Bilinear. Through extensive experimental studies, we show that both methods can significantly improve fine-grained visual recognition performance on low data regimes and can be incorporated into existing network architectures."