Prompt, Generate, then Cache: Cascade of Foundation Models makes Strong Few-shot Learners

Prompt, Generate, then Cache: Cascade of Foundation Models makes Strong Few-shot Learners
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Original Paper
Visual recognition in low-data regimes requires deep neural networks to learn generalized representations from limited training samples. Recently, CLIP-based methods have shown promising few-shot performance benefited from the contrastive language-image pre-training. We then question, if the more diverse pre-training knowledge can be cascaded to further assist few-shot representation learning. In this paper, we propose CaFo, a Cascade of Foundation models that incorporates diverse prior knowledge of various pre-training paradigms for better few-shot learning. Our CaFo incorporates CLIP's language-contrastive knowledge, DINO's vision-contrastive knowledge, DALL-E's vision-generative knowledge, and GPT-3's language-generative knowledge. Specifically, CaFo works by 'Prompt, Generate, then Cache'. Firstly, we leverage GPT-3 to produce textual inputs for prompting CLIP with rich downstream linguistic semantics. Then, we generate synthetic images via DALL-E to expand the few-shot training data without any manpower. At last, we introduce a learnable cache model to adaptively blend the predictions from CLIP and DINO. By such collaboration, CaFo can fully unleash the potential of different pre-training methods and unify them to perform state-of-the-art for few-shot classification. Code is available at

Summary Notes

Enhancing Few-shot Learning with Cascades of Foundation Models (CaFo)


Few-shot learning is a crucial challenge in AI, where the goal is to develop models that can accurately learn from limited data.
Traditional methods have made progress, but often struggle with complex real-world scenarios. Enter the "CaFo" framework, a groundbreaking approach that uses a series of pre-trained models to dramatically improve few-shot learning.

The Challenges of Few-shot Learning

The essence of few-shot learning is to teach models to accurately classify or understand data with only a few examples.
Although techniques like meta-learning and metric learning have been developed to tackle this, they frequently require elaborate setup and may not work well across different tasks.

Background Work

Lately, the focus has shifted towards using large pre-trained models, which are trained on vast datasets and can offer a rich understanding for few-shot learning.
Specifically, combining language and visual models has shown great promise in enhancing the models' understanding of both text and images in few-shot tasks.

Introducing the CaFo Framework

The CaFo framework is a breakthrough in few-shot learning, uniquely combining four types of pre-trained models to support the learning process:
  • CLIP: Provides understanding of textual and visual data relationships.
  • DINO: Enhances visual recognition.
  • DALL-E: Creates synthetic images to expand training data.
  • GPT-3: Generates linguistic prompts to guide the learning focus.
These models are integrated through a three-step process called Prompt, Generate, then Cache. GPT-3 starts by creating prompts that help CLIP understand the task.
DALL-E follows by generating synthetic images for more diverse examples. Lastly, a learnable cache model uses predictions from CLIP and DINO, refining the output with the few-shot examples.

Performance and Results

Testing CaFo across 11 datasets proved its outstanding performance in few-shot learning, especially in settings with very limited data.
It consistently surpassed existing methods, showcasing its adaptability and learning capabilities from minimal examples.

Conclusion and Key Takeaways

CaFo stands out by cleverly using diverse pre-trained models to address few-shot learning's challenges. Its unique cache model efficiently combines predictions for better accuracy. The framework is highly adaptable, promising for applications facing data scarcity.

Key Contributions

  • Pre-training Knowledge Integration: Combining CLIP, DINO, DALL-E, and GPT-3 into a unified learning approach.
  • Innovative Cache Model: An adaptive method to enhance prediction accuracy in few-shot scenarios.
  • Thorough Validation: Proven effectiveness of CaFo across multiple datasets.

Looking Forward

Future enhancements could include integrating additional pre-trained models and expanding to more domains, potentially making CaFo even more versatile and powerful for few-shot learning.
The CaFo framework offers AI Engineers in enterprises a new strategy for overcoming few-shot learning challenges, leveraging the power of foundation models to develop more versatile, efficient, and adaptable AI systems.

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