A few-shot learning method for tobacco abnormality identification

Hong Lin, Zhenping Qiang, Rita Tse, Su Kit Tang, Giovanni Pau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tobacco is a valuable crop, but its disease identification is rarely involved in existing works. In this work, we use few-shot learning (FSL) to identify abnormalities in tobacco. FSL is a solution for the data deficiency that has been an obstacle to using deep learning. However, weak feature representation caused by limited data is still a challenging issue in FSL. The weak feature representation leads to weak generalization and troubles in cross-domain. In this work, we propose a feature representation enhancement network (FREN) that enhances the feature representation through instance embedding and task adaptation. For instance embedding, global max pooling, and global average pooling are used together for adding more features, and Gaussian-like calibration is used for normalizing the feature distribution. For task adaptation, self-attention is adopted for task contextualization. Given the absence of publicly available data on tobacco, we created a tobacco leaf abnormality dataset (TLA), which includes 16 categories, two settings, and 1,430 images in total. In experiments, we use PlantVillage, which is the benchmark dataset for plant disease identification, to validate the superiority of FREN first. Subsequently, we use the proposed method and TLA to analyze and discuss the abnormality identification of tobacco. For the multi-symptom diseases that always have low accuracy, we propose a solution by dividing the samples into subcategories created by symptom. For the 10 categories of tomato in PlantVillage, the accuracy achieves 66.04% in 5-way, 1-shot tasks. For the two settings of the tobacco leaf abnormality dataset, the accuracies were achieved at 45.5% and 56.5%. By using the multisymptom solution, the best accuracy can be lifted to 60.7% in 16-way, 1-shot tasks and achieved at 81.8% in 16-way, 10-shot tasks. The results show that our method improves the performance greatly by enhancing feature representation, especially for tasks that contain categories with high similarity. The desensitization of data when crossing domains also validates that the FREN has a strong generalization ability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1333236
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • cross-domain
  • feature representation
  • few-shot learning
  • instance-embedding
  • task-adaptation
  • tobacco disease identification


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