Real-world data are long-tailed, the lack of tail samples leads to a significant limitation in the generalization ability of the model. Although numerous approaches of class re-balancing perform well for moderate class imbalance problems, additional knowledge needs to be introduced to help the tail class recover the underlying true distribution when the observed distribution from a few tail samples does not represent its true distribution properly, thus allowing the model to learn valuable information outside the observed domain. In this work, we propose to leverage the geometric information of the feature distribution of the well-represented head class to guide the model to learn the underlying distribution of the tail class. Specifically, we first systematically define the geometry of the feature distribution and the similarity measures between the geometries, and discover four phenomena regarding the relationship between the geometries of different feature distributions. Then, based on four phenomena, feature uncertainty representation is proposed to perturb the tail features by utilizing the geometry of the head class feature distribution. It aims to make the perturbed features cover the underlying distribution of the tail class as much as possible, thus improving the model's generalization performance in the test domain. Finally, we design a three-stage training scheme enabling feature uncertainty modeling to be successfully applied. Experiments on CIFAR-10/100-LT, ImageNet-LT, and iNaturalist2018 show that our proposed approach outperforms other similar methods on most metrics. In addition, the experimental phenomena we discovered are able to provide new perspectives and theoretical foundations for subsequent studies.
In the context of the long-tail scenario, models exhibit a strong demand for high-quality data. Data-centric approaches aim to enhance both the quantity and quality of data to improve model performance. Among these approaches, information augmentation has been progressively introduced as a crucial category. It achieves a balance in model performance by augmenting the richness and quantity of samples in the tail classes. However, there is currently a lack of research into the underlying mechanisms explaining the effectiveness of information augmentation methods. Consequently, the utilization of information augmentation in long-tail recognition tasks relies heavily on empirical and intricate fine-tuning. This work makes two primary contributions. Firstly, we approach the problem from the perspectives of feature diversity and distribution shift, introducing the concept of Feature Diversity Gain (FDG) to elucidate why information augmentation is effective. We find that the performance of information augmentation can be explained by FDG, and its performance peaks when FDG achieves an appropriate balance. Experimental results demonstrate that by using FDG to select augmented data, we can further enhance model performance without the need for any modifications to the model's architecture. Thus, data-centric approaches hold significant potential in the field of long-tail recognition, beyond the development of new model structures. Furthermore, we systematically introduce the core components and fundamental tasks of a data-centric long-tail learning framework for the first time. These core components guide the implementation and deployment of the system, while the corresponding fundamental tasks refine and expand the research area.