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  1. Recently, contrastive learning has achieved great results in self-supervised learning, where the main idea is to pull two augmentations of an image (positive pairs) closer compared to other random images (negative pairs). We argue that not all negative images are equally negative. Hence, we introduce a self-supervised learning algorithm where we use a soft similarity for the negative images rather than a binary distinction between positive and negative pairs. We iteratively distill a slowly evolving teacher model to the student model by capturing the similarity of a query image to some random images and transferring that knowledge to the student. Specifically, our method should handle unbalanced and unlabeled data better than existing contrastive learning methods, because the randomly chosen negative set might include many samples that are semantically similar to the query image. In this case, our method labels them as highly similar while standard contrastive methods label them as negatives. Our method achieves comparable results to the state-of-the-art models. 
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  2. Given the widespread deployment of black box deep neural networks in computer vision applications, the interpretability aspect of these black box systems has recently gained traction. Various methods have been proposed to explain the results of such deep neural networks. However, some recent works have shown that such explanation methods are biased and do not produce consistent interpretations. Hence, rather than introducing a novel explanation method, we learn models that are encouraged to be interpretable given an explanation method. We use Grad-CAM as the explanation algorithm and encourage the network to learn consistent interpretations along with maximizing the log-likelihood of the correct class. We show that our method outperforms the baseline on the pointing game evaluation on ImageNet and MS-COCO datasets respectively. We also introduce new evaluation metrics that penalize the saliency map if it lies outside the ground truth bounding box or segmentation mask, and show that our method outperforms the baseline on these metrics as well. Moreover, our model trained with interpretation consistency generalizes to other explanation algorithms on all the evaluation metrics. 
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  3. Self-supervised learning aims to learn good representations with unlabeled data. Recent works have shown that larger models benefit more from self-supervised learning than smaller models. As a result, the gap between supervised and self-supervised learning has been greatly reduced for larger models. In this work, instead of designing a new pseudo task for self-supervised learning, we develop a model compression method to compress an already learned, deep self-supervised model (teacher) to a smaller one (student). We train the student model so that it mimics the relative similarity between the datapoints in the teacher’s embedding space. For AlexNet, our method outperforms all previous methods including the fully supervised model on ImageNet linear evaluation (59.0% compared to 56.5%) and on nearest neighbor evaluation (50.7% compared to 41.4%). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time a self-supervised AlexNet has outperformed supervised one on ImageNet classification. 
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  4. With the success of deep learning algorithms in various domains, studying adversarial attacks to secure deep models in real world applications has become an important research topic. Backdoor attacks are a form of adversarial attacks on deep networks where the attacker provides poisoned data to the victim to train the model with, and then activates the attack by showing a specific small trigger pattern at the test time. Most state-of-the-art backdoor attacks either provide mislabeled poisoning data that is possible to identify by visual inspection, reveal the trigger in the poisoned data, or use noise to hide the trigger. We propose a novel form of backdoor attack where poisoned data look natural with correct labels and also more importantly, the attacker hides the trigger in the poisoned data and keeps the trigger secret until the test time. We perform an extensive study on various image classification settings and show that our attack can fool the model by pasting the trigger at random locations on unseen images although the model performs well on clean data. We also show that our proposed attack cannot be easily defended using a state-of-the-art defense algorithm for backdoor attacks. 
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