Few-shot learning involves learning an effective model from only a few labeled datapoints. The use of a small training set makes it difficult to avoid overfitting but also makes few-shot learning applicable to many important real-world settings. In this work, we focus on Few-shot Learning with Auxiliary Data (FLAD), a training paradigm that assumes access to auxiliary data during few-shot learning in hopes of improving generalization. Introducing auxiliary data during few-shot learning leads to essential design choices where hand-designed heuristics can lead to sub-optimal performance. In this work, we focus on automated sampling strategies for FLAD and relate them to the explore-exploit dilemma that is central in multi-armed bandit settings. Based on this connection we propose two algorithms — EXP3-FLAD and UCB1-FLAD — and compare them with methods that either explore or exploit, finding that the combination of exploration and exploitation is crucial. Using our proposed algorithms to train T5 yields a 9% absolute improvement over the explicitly multi-task pre-trained T0 model across 11 datasets.

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