Train Your GAN With 1/10th of the Data! NVIDIA ADA Explained

With this new training method developed by NVIDIA, you can train a powerful generative model with one-tenth of the images! Making possible many applications that do not have access to so many images!

Train Your GAN With 1/10th of the Data! NVIDIA ADA Explained

This new paper covers a technique for training a GAN architecture. They are used in many applications related to computer vision, where we want to generate a realistic transformation of an image following a specific style. If you are not familiar with how GANs work, I definitely recommend you to watch the video I made explaining it before continuing this one.

As you know, GANs architecture trains in an adversarial way. Meaning that there are two networks training at the same time, one training to generate a transformed image from the input, the generator, and the other one training to differentiate the generated images from the training images’ ground truths. These training images’ ground truths are just the transformation result we would like to achieve for each input image. Then, we try to optimize both networks at the same time, thus making the generator better and better at generating images that look real. But, in order to produce these great and realistic results, we need two things. A training dataset composed of thousands and thousands of images, and stopping the training before overfitting.

Image via: Training Generative Adversarial Networks with Limited Data by NVIDIA

Overfitting during a GAN training would mean that our discriminator’s feedback would become meaningless and the images generated will only get worse. It happens past a certain point when you train your network too much for your amount of data, and the quality only gets worse, as you can see happening here after the black dots.

These are the problems NVIDIA tackled with this paper. They realized that this is basically the same problem, and could be solved by one solution. They proposed a method they called an adaptative discriminator augmentation. Their approach is quite simple in theory, and you can apply it to any GAN architecture you already have without changing anything.

Image via: Training Generative Adversarial Networks with Limited Data by NVIDIA

As you may know, in most areas of deep learning, we perform what we call data augmentation to fight against overfitting. In computer vision, it often takes the form of applying transformations to the image during the training phase to multiply our quantity of training data. These transformations can be anything from applying a rotation, adding noise, changing the colors, etc. to modify our input image and create a unique version of it. Making our network train on a way more diverse dataset without having to create or find more images. Unfortunately, this cannot be easily applied to a GAN architecture since the generator will learn to generate images following these same augmentations. This is what NVIDIA’s team has done. They found a way to use these augmentations to prevent the model from overfitting while ensuring that none of these augmentations are leaked onto the generated images. They basically apply this set of image augmentations to all images shown to the discriminator with a chosen probability of each transformation to randomly occur and evaluate the discriminator’s performance using these modified images. This high number of transformations all applied randomly makes it very unlikely that the discriminator sees even one unchanged image. Of course, the generator is trained and guided to generate only clean images without any transformations. They’ve concluded that this method of training a GAN architecture with augmented data shown to the discriminator works only if each transformation’s occurrence probability is below 80%. The higher it is, the more augmentations will be applied and thus a more diverse training dataset you will have.

Image via: Training Generative Adversarial Networks with Limited Data by NVIDIA

They found that while this was solving the question of the limited amount of training images, there was still the overfitting issue that appeared at different times based on your initial dataset’s size. This is why they thought of an adaptative way of doing this augmentation. Instead of having another hyper-parameter to decide the ideal augmentation probability of appearance, they instead control the augmentation strength during the training. Starting at 0, and then adjust its value iteratively based on the difference between the training and validation sets. Indicating if overfitting is happening or not. This validation set is just a different set of the same type of images that the network is not trained on. The validation set just needs to be made of images that the discriminator hasn’t seen before. It is used to measure the quality of our results and quantify the degree of divergence of our network, quantifying overfitting at the same time.

Image via: Training Generative Adversarial Networks with Limited Data by NVIDIA

Here, you can see the results of this adaptative discriminator augmentation for multiple training set sizes on the FFHQ dataset. Here, we use the FID measure, which you can see getting better and better over time and never reaching this overfitting problem where it starts to get only worse. The FID, or Fréchet inception distance, is basically a measure of the distance between the distributions for generated and real images. It measures the quality of the generated image samples. The lower it is, the better our results.

This FFHQ dataset contains 70 000 high-quality faces taken from Flickr. It was created as a benchmark for generative adversarial networks. And indeed, they successfully matched StyleGAN2 results with an order of magnitude fewer images used as you can see here.

Image via: Training Generative Adversarial Networks with Limited Data by NVIDIA

Where the results are plotted for 1 000 to 140 000 training examples using again this same FID measure on the FFHQ dataset.

Watch the video for more examples of this new training method:


Of course, the code is also completely available and easy to implement to your GAN architecture using TensorFlow. Both the code and the paper are linked in the references below if you would like to implement this in your code or have a deeper understanding of the technique by reading the paper. This paper was just published in the NeurIPS 2020, as well as another announcement by NVIDIA. They announced a new program called the applied research accelerator program. Their goal here is to support research projects to make a real-world impact through deployment into GPU-accelerated applications adopted by commercial and government organizations. Granting hardware, funding, technical guidance, support, and more to students. You should definitely give it a look if that fits your current needs, I linked it in the description of the video as well!

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Training Generative Adversarial Networks with Limited Data by NVIDIA. Published in the NeurIPS 2020 conference.
ADA — GitHub with code.
NVIDIA’s Applied Research Program.