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Automatic Image and Video Tagging

It’s a hot research area to automatically generate description or tag for images and videos.  How can machine “understand” an image or a video?  In this blog post, I curate the most popular and current approaches (most of them are presented in CVPR 2015) to tackle this challenge.


Approach 1: Multiple Instance Learning (MIL)

Paper 1: From Captions to Visual Concepts and Back by Microsoft Research

This paper at CVPR presents a novel approach for automatically generating image descriptions: visual detectors, language models, and multimodal similarity models learnt directly from a dataset of image captions. It uses multiple instance learning to train visual detectors for words that commonly occur in captions, including many different parts of speech such as nouns, verbs, and adjectives. The word detector outputs serve as conditional inputs to a maximum-entropy language model. The language model learns from a set of over 400,000 image descriptions to capture the statistics of word usage. It captures global semantics by re-ranking caption candidates using sentence-level features and a deep multimodal similarity model. The system is state-of-the-art on the official Microsoft COCO benchmark, producing a BLEU-4 score of 29.1%. When human judges compare the system captions to ones written by other people on our held-out test set, the system captions have equal or better quality 34% of the time.



Approach 2: Deep Neural Networks (DNN), Recurrent Neural Networks (RNN), and the variants

Paper 1: Long-term Recurrent Convolutional Networks for Visual Recognition and Description

Models based on deep convolutional networks have dominated recent image interpretation tasks; we investigate whether models which are also recurrent, or “temporally deep”, are effective for tasks involving sequences, visual and otherwise. We develop a novel recurrent convolutional architecture suitable for large-scale visual learning which is end-to-end trainable, and demonstrate the value of these models on benchmark video recognition tasks, image description and retrieval problems, and video narration challenges. In contrast to current models which assume a fixed spatio-temporal receptive field or simple temporal averaging for sequential processing, recurrent convolutional models are “doubly deep”‘ in that they can be compositional in spatial and temporal “layers”. Such models may have advantages when target concepts are complex and/or training data are limited. Learning long-term dependencies is possible when nonlinearities are incorporated into the network state updates. Long-term RNN models are appealing in that they directly can map variable-length inputs (e.g., video frames) to variable length outputs (e.g., natural language text) and can model complex temporal dynamics; yet they can be optimized with backpropagation. Our recurrent long-term models are directly connected to modern visual convnet models and can be jointly trained to simultaneously learn temporal dynamics and convolutional perceptual representations. Our results show such models have distinct advantages over state-of-the-art models for recognition or generation which are separately defined and/or optimized.

Long-term Recurrent Convolutional Networks

This is the project page for Long-term Recurrent Convolutional Networks (LRCN), a class of models that unifies the state of the art in visual and sequence learning. See our arXiv report for details on our approach.


Paper 2: Deep Visual-Semantic Alignments for Generating Image Descriptions

We present a model that generates natural language descriptions of images and their regions. Our approach leverages datasets of images and their sentence descriptions to learn about the inter-modal correspondences between language and visual data. Our alignment model is based on a novel combination of Convolutional Neural Networks over image regions, bidirectional Recurrent Neural Networks over sentences, and a structured objective that aligns the two modalities through a multimodal embedding. We then describe a Multimodal Recurrent Neural Network architecture that uses the inferred alignments to learn to generate novel descriptions of image regions. We demonstrate that our alignment model produces state of the art results in retrieval experiments on Flickr8K, Flickr30K and MSCOCO datasets. We then show that the generated descriptions significantly outperform retrieval baselines on both full images and on a new dataset of region-level annotations.

See our code release on Github, which allows you to train Multimodal Recurrent Neural Networks that describe images with sentences.


Paper 3: Jointly Modeling Embedding and Translation to Bridge Video and Language by Microsoft Research

This paper presents a novel unified framework, named Long Short-Term Memory with visual-semantic Embedding (LSTM-E), which can simultaneously explore the learning of LSTM and visual-semantic embedding. The former aims to locally maximize the probability of generating the next word given previous words and visual content, while the latter is to create a visual-semantic embedding space for enforcing the relationship between the semantics of the entire sentence and visual content. Our proposed LSTM-E consists of three components: a 2-D and/or 3-D deep convolutional neural networks for learning powerful video representation, a deep RNN for generating sentences, and a joint embedding model for exploring the relationships between visual content and sentence semantics. The experiments on YouTube2Text dataset show that our proposed LSTM-E achieves to-date the best reported performance in generating natural sentences: 45.3% and 31.0% in terms of BLEU@4 and METEOR, respectively. We also demonstrate that LSTM-E is superior in predicting Subject-Verb-Object (SVO) triplets to several state-of-the-art techniques.


Paper 4: Multi-language Image Captioning and Retrieval  (link is not available)

by Junhua Mao, Alan Yuille, Wei Xu, Yi Yang, Jiang Wang, Zhiheng Huang (Univ. of California, Los Angeles; Baidu Research)


Paper 5: Translating Videos to Natural Language Using Deep Recurrent Neural Networks

Solving the visual symbol grounding problem has long been a goal of artificial intelligence. The field appears to be advancing closer to this goal with recent breakthroughs in deep learning for natural language grounding in static images. In this paper, we propose to translate videos directly to sentences using a unified deep neural network with both convolutional and recurrent structure. Described video datasets are scarce, and most existing methods have been applied to toy domains with a small vocabulary of possible words. By transferring knowledge from 1.2M+ images with category labels and 100,000+ images with captions, our method is able to create sentence descriptions of open-domain videos with large vocabularies. We compare our approach with recent work using language generation metrics, subject, verb, and object prediction accuracy, and a human evaluation.


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