Learning by Ignoring
preprintposted on 29.12.2020, 17:05 by Pengtao Xie, Xingchen Zhao
Learning by ignoring, which identifies less important things and excludes them from the learning process, is an effective learning technique in human learning. There has been psychological studies showing that learning to ignore certain things is a powerful tool for helping people focus. We are interested in investigating whether this powerful learning technique can be borrowed from humans to improve the learning abilities of machines. We propose a novel learning approach called learning by ignoring (LBI). Our approach automatically identifies pretraining data examples that have large domain shift from the target distribution by learning an ignoring variable for each example and excludes them from the pretraining process. We propose a three-level optimization framework to formulate LBI which involves three stages of learning: pretraining by minimizing the losses weighed by ignoring variables; finetuning; updating the ignoring variables by minimizing the validation loss. We develop an efficient algorithm to solve the LBI problem. Experiments on various datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of our method.