Counterfactual Supervision-Based Information Bottleneck for Out-of-Distribution Generalization


Learning invariant (causal) features for out-of-distribution (OOD) generalization have attracted extensive attention recently, and among the proposals, invariant risk minimization (IRM) is a notable solution. In spite of its theoretical promise for linear regression, the challenges of using IRM in linear classification problems remain. By introducing the information bottleneck (IB) principle into the learning of IRM, the IB-IRM approach has demonstrated its power to solve these challenges. In this paper, we further improve IB-IRM from two aspects. First, we show that the key assumption of support overlap of invariant features used in IB-IRM guarantees OOD generalization, and it is still possible to achieve the optimal solution without this assumption. Second, we illustrate two failure modes where IB-IRM (and IRM) could fail in learning the invariant features, and to address such failures, we propose a Counterfactual Supervision-based Information Bottleneck (CSIB) learning algorithm that recovers the invariant features. By requiring counterfactual inference, CSIB works even when accessing data from a single environment. Empirical experiments on several datasets verify our theoretical results.

In Entropy
Bin Deng
Bin Deng
Ph.D Student

My research interests include hyperspectral image processing, pattern recognition and machine learning.