A meta-learning approach to predicting performance and data requirements
We propose an approach to estimate the number of samples required for a model to reach a target performance. We find that the power law, the de facto principle to estimate model performance, leads to large error when using a small dataset (e.g., 5 samples per class) for extrapolation. This is because the log-performance error against the log-dataset size follows a nonlinear progression in the few-shot regime followed by a linear progression in the high-shot regime. We introduce a novel piecewise power law (PPL) that handles the two data regimes differently. To estimate the parameters of the PPL, we introduce a random forest regressor trained via meta learning that generalizes across classification/detection tasks, ResNet/ViT based architectures, and random/pre-trained initializations. The PPL improves the performance estimation on average by 37% across 16 classification and 33% across 10 detection datasets, compared to the power law. We further extend the PPL to provide a confidence bound and use it to limit the prediction horizon that reduces over-estimation of data by 76% on classification and 91% on detection datasets.