[Paper] Random Erasing (RE): Random Erasing Data Augmentation (Image Classification)

Improves Models for Image Classification, Object Detection & Person Re-identification

Random Erasing (From Author’s GitHub: https://github.com/zhunzhong07/Random-Erasing) Meow!
  • This reduces the risk of overfitting and makes the model robust to occlusion.
  • It is is complementary to commonly used data augmentation techniques such as random cropping and flipping.


  1. Random Erasing (RE)
  2. Ablation Study
  3. Experimental Results

1. Random Erasing (RE)

1.1. Random Erasing (RE) Algorithm

  • For an image I in a mini-batch, the probability of it undergoing Random Erasing is p.
  • Random Erasing randomly selects a rectangle region Ie in an image, and erases its pixels with random values.
  • The area of the image is S = W ×H. The area of erasing rectangle region is randomized as Se, where Se/S is in range specified by minimum sl and maximum sh.
  • The aspect ratio re of erasing rectangle region is randomly initialized between r1 and r2.
  • The size of Ie is:
  • With the selected erasing region Ie, each pixel in Ie is assigned to a random value in [0, 255].
  • The detailed RE algorithm is as below:
Random Erasing (RE) Algorithm

1.2. Random Erasing for Image Classification and Person Re-identification


1.3. Random Erasing for Object Detection

  1. Object-aware Random Erasing (ORE): selecting erasing regions in the bounding box of each object. if there are multiple objects in the image, Random Erasing is applied on each object separately.
  2. Image and object-aware Random Erasing (I+ORE): selecting erasing regions in both the whole image and each object bounding box.

1.4. Comparison with Random Cropping

  • CNN can learn the model on the presence of parts of the object instead of focusing on the whole object.
  • Random Erasing retains the overall structure of the object, only occluding some parts of object. Areas are re-assigned with random values, which can be viewed as adding noise to the image.
  • They can be complementary to each other.

2. Ablation Study

2.1. The impact of hyper-parameters

Test errors (%) under different hyper-parameters on CIFAR-10 with using Pre-Activation ResNet-18
  • 3 hyperparameters to evaluate, i.e., the erasing probability p, the area ratio range of erasing region sl and sh, and the aspect ratio range of erasing region r1 and r2.
  • To simplify experiment, sl is fixed to 0.02, r1 = 1/r2 and evaluate p, sh, and r1.
  • p = 0.5, sh = 0.4 and r1 = 0.3 as the base setting, and alter one of them.
  • When p ∈ [0.2, 0.8] and sh ∈ [0.2, 0.8], the average classification error rate is 4.48%, outperforming the baseline method (5.17%) by a large margin.
  • For aspect ratio, the best result are obtained when r1 = 0.3, error rate = 4.31%, reduces the classification error rate by 0.86% compared with the baseline.
  • p = 0.5, sl = 0.02, sh = 0.4, and r1 = 1/r2 = 0.3 as default settings.

2.2. Four Types of Random Values

Test errors (%) on CIFAR-10
  1. RE-M: mean ImageNet value.
  2. RE-0: 0.
  3. RE-255: 255.

3. Experimental Results

3.1. Image Classification

Test errors (%) with different architectures on CIFAR-10, CIFAR-100 and Fashion-MNIST
  • For CIFAR-10, random erasing improves the accuracy by 0.49% using ResNet-110.
  • Random erasing obtains 3.08% error rate using WRN-28–10, which improves the accuracy by 0.72%.
  • For CIFAR-100, random erasing obtains 17.73% error rate which gains 0.76% than the WRN-28-10 baseline.
  • Random erasing improves WRN-28–10 from 4.01% to 3.65% in top-1 error on Fashion-MNIST.
Test errors (%) on ImageNet-2012 validation set

3.2. Comparison with Dropout and Random Noise

Test errors (%) with different data augmentation methods on CIFAR-10

3.3. Comparing with Data Augmentation Methods

Test errors (%) with different data augmentation methods on CIFAR-10
  • Random Erasing and the two competing techniques are complementary. Particularly, combining these three methods achieves 4.31% error rate, a 7% improvement over the baseline without any augmentation.

3.4. Robustness to Occlusion

Test Error Rates Against Different Occlusion Levels
  • Random erasing approach achieves 56.36% error rate when the occluded area is half of the image (l = 0.5), while the baseline rapidly drops to 75.04%.
  • Random Erasing improves the robustness of CNNs against occlusion.

3.5. Object Detection

VOC 2007 test detection average precision (%)
  • For Random Erasing, p = 0.5, sl = 0.02, sh = 0.2, and r1 = 1/r2=0.3.
  • The baseline got 69.1% mAP.
  • The detector training with I+ORE obtains further improved in performance with 71.5% mAP.
  • When using the enlarged 07+12 training set, 76.2% mAP is achieved.

3.6. Person Re-identification

Person re-identification performance with Random Erasing (RE) on Market-1501, DukeMTMC-reID, and CUHK03
  • For Market-1501, Random Erasing improves the rank-1 by 3.10% and 2.67% for IDE and SVDNet with using ResNet-50.
  • For DukeMTMC-reID, Random Erasing increases the rank-1 accuracy from 71.99% to 74.24% for IDE (ResNet-50) and from 76.82% to 79.31% for SVDNet (ResNet-50).
  • For CUHK03, TriNet gains 8.28% and 5.0% in rank-1 accuracy when applying Random Erasing.
  • This indicates that Random erasing can reduce the risk of over-fitting and improves the re-ID performance.



PhD, Researcher. I share what I learn. :) Reads: https://bit.ly/33TDhxG, LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sh-tsang/, Twitter: https://twitter.com/SHTsang3

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