Google Research

Tradeoffs in Data Augmentation: An Empirical Study

ICLR (2021)


Though data augmentation has become a standard component of deep neural network training, the underlying mechanism behind the effectiveness of these techniques remains poorly understood. In practice, augmentation policies are often chosen using heuristics of distribution shift or augmentation diversity. Inspired by these, we conduct an empirical study to quantify how data augmentation improves model generalization. We introduce two interpretable and easy-to-compute measures: Affinity and Diversity. We find that augmentation performance is predicted not by either of these alone but by jointly optimizing the two.

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