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Sample Efficiency of Data Augmentation Consistency Regularization

Shuo Yang · Yijun Dong · Rachel Ward · Inderjit Dhillon · Sujay Sanghavi · Qi Lei

Auditorium 1 Foyer 101


Data augmentation is popular in the training of large neural networks; however, currently, theoretical understanding of the discrepancy between different algorithmic choices of leveraging augmented data remains limited.In this paper, we take a step in this direction -- we first present a simple and novel analysis for linear regression with label invariant augmentations, demonstrating that data augmentation consistency (DAC) is intrinsically more efficient than empirical risk minimization on augmented data (DA-ERM). The analysis is then extended to misspecified augmentations (i.e., augmentations that change the labels), which again demonstrates the merit of DAC over DA-ERM. Further, we extend our analysis to non-linear models (e.g., neural networks) and present generalization bounds. Finally, we perform experiments that make a clean and apples-to-apples comparison (i.e., with no extra modeling or data tweaks) between DAC and DA-ERM using CIFAR-100 and WideResNet; these together demonstrate the superior efficacy of DAC.

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