Boosting Few-Shot Text Classification via Distribution Estimation

Han Liu, Feng Zhang, Xiaotong Zhang, Siyang Zhao, Fenglong Ma, Xiao Ming Wu, Hongyang Chen, Hong Yu, Xianchao Zhang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Distribution estimation has been demonstrated as one of the most effective approaches in dealing with few-shot image classification, as the low-level patterns and underlying representations can be easily transferred across different tasks in computer vision domain. However, directly applying this approach to few-shot text classification is challenging, since leveraging the statistics of known classes with sufficient samples to calibrate the distributions of novel classes may cause negative effects due to serious category difference in text domain. To alleviate this issue, we propose two simple yet effective strategies to estimate the distributions of the novel classes by utilizing unlabeled query samples, thus avoiding the potential negative transfer issue. Specifically, we first assume a class or sample follows the Gaussian distribution, and use the original support set and the nearest few query samples to estimate the corresponding mean and covariance. Then, we augment the labeled samples by sampling from the estimated distribution, which can provide sufficient supervision for training the classification model. Extensive experiments on eight few-shot text classification datasets show that the proposed method outperforms state-of-the-art baselines significantly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAAAI-23 Technical Tracks 11
EditorsBrian Williams, Yiling Chen, Jennifer Neville
PublisherAAAI press
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781577358800
StatePublished - Jun 27 2023
Event37th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, AAAI 2023 - Washington, United States
Duration: Feb 7 2023Feb 14 2023

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 37th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, AAAI 2023


Conference37th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, AAAI 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Artificial Intelligence

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