Semi-supervised Vision Transformers at Scale

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Zhaowei Cai, Avinash Ravichandran, Paolo Favaro, Manchen Wang, Davide Modolo, Rahul Bhotika, Zhuowen Tu, Stefano Soatto


We study semi-supervised learning (SSL) for vision transformers (ViT), an under-explored topic despite the wide adoption of the ViT architectures to different tasks. To tackle this problem, we use a SSL pipeline, consisting of first un/self-supervised pre-training, followed by supervised fine-tuning, and finally semi-supervised fine-tuning. At the semi-supervised fine-tuning stage, we adopt an exponential moving average (EMA)-Teacher framework instead of the popular FixMatch, since the former is more stable and delivers higher accuracy for semi-supervised vision transformers. In addition, we propose a probabilistic pseudo mixup mechanism to interpolate unlabeled samples and their pseudo labels for improved regularization, which is important for training ViTs with weak inductive bias. Our proposed method, dubbed Semi-ViT, achieves comparable or better performance than the CNN counterparts in the semi-supervised classification setting. Semi-ViT also enjoys the scalability benefits of ViTs that can be readily scaled up to large-size models with increasing accuracy. For example, Semi-ViT-Huge achieves an impressive 80\% top-1 accuracy on ImageNet using only 1\% labels, which is comparable with Inception-v4 using 100\% ImageNet labels. The code is available at