Self-training with Noisy Student improves ImageNet classification

We present a simple self-training method that achieves 87.4% top-1 accuracy on ImageNet, which is 1.0% better than the state-of-the-art model that requires 3.5B weakly labeled Instagram images. On robustness test sets, it improves ImageNet-A top-1 accuracy from 16.6% to 74.2%, reduces ImageNet-C mean corruption error from 45.7 to 31.2, and reduces ImageNet-P mean flip rate from 27.8 to 16.1.

To achieve this result, we first train an EfficientNet model on labeled ImageNet images and use it as a teacher to generate pseudo labels on 300M unlabeled images. We then train a larger EfficientNet as a student model on the com- bination of labeled and pseudo labeled images. We iterate this process by putting back the student as the teacher. During the generation of the pseudo labels, the teacher is not noised so that the pseudo labels are as good as possible. But during the learning of the student, we inject noise such as data augmentation, dropout, stochastic depth to the stu- dent so that the noised student is forced to learn harder from the pseudo labels.