Mixed Samples as Probes for Unsupervised Model Selection in Domain Adaptation

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper


Dapeng Hu, Jian Liang, Jun Hao Liew, Chuhui Xue, Song Bai, Xinchao Wang


Unsupervised domain adaptation (UDA) has been widely applied in improving model generalization on unlabeled target data. However, accurately selecting the best UDA model for the target domain is challenging due to the absence of labeled target data and domain distribution shifts. Traditional model selection approaches involve training extra models with source data to estimate the target validation risk. Recent studies propose practical methods that are based on measuring various properties of model predictions on target data. Although effective for some UDA models, these methods often lack stability and may lead to poor selections for other UDA models.In this paper, we present MixVal, an innovative model selection method that operates solely with unlabeled target data during inference. MixVal leverages mixed target samples with pseudo labels to directly probe the learned target structure by each UDA model. Specifically, MixVal employs two distinct types of probes: the intra-cluster mixed samples for evaluating neighborhood density and the inter-cluster mixed samples for investigating the classification boundary. With this comprehensive probing strategy, MixVal elegantly combines the strengths of two state-of-the-art model selection methods, Entropy and SND. We extensively evaluate MixVal on 11 UDA methods across 4 adaptation settings, including classification and segmentation tasks. Experimental results consistently demonstrate that MixVal achieves state-of-the-art performance and maintains exceptional stability in model selection. Code is available at \url{https://github.com/LHXXHB/MixVal}.