Few-Shot Learning via Repurposing Ensemble of Black-Box Models

Published in 38th Annual AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 2024

Abstract: This paper investigates the problem of exploiting existing solution models of previous tasks to address a related target task with limited training data. Existing approaches addressing this problem often require access to the internal parameterization of the existing solution models and possibly their training data, which is not possible in many practical settings. To relax this requirement, We approach this problem from a new perspective of black-box re-purposing, which augments the target inputs and leverages their corresponding outputs generated by existing black-box APIs into a feature ensemble. We hypothesize that such feature ensemble can be learned to incorporate and encode relevant black-box knowledge into the feature representation of target data, which will compensate for their scarcity. This hypothesis is confirmed via the reported successes of our proposed black-box ensemble in solving multiple few-shot learning tasks derived from various benchmark datasets. All reported results show consistently that the set of heterogeneous black-box solutions of previous tasks can indeed be reused and combined effectively to solve a reasonably related target task without requiring access to a large training dataset. This is the first step towards enabling new possibilities to further supplement existing techniques in transfer or meta learning with black-box knowledge.

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