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Papers


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Virtual Worlds as Proxy for Multi-Object Tracking Analysis

Adrien Gaidon, Qiao Wang, Yohann Cabon, Eleonora Vig

Modern computer vision algorithms typically require expensive data acquisition and accurate manual labeling. In this work, we instead leverage the recent progress in computer graphics to generate fully labeled, dynamic, and photo-realistic proxy virtual worlds. We propose an efficient real-to-virtual world cloning method, and validate our approach by building and publicly releasing a new video dataset, called Virtual KITTI (see http://www.xrce.xerox.com/Research-Development/Computer-Vision/Proxy-Virtual-Worlds), automatically labeled with accurate ground truth for object detection, tracking, scene and instance segmentation, depth, and optical flow. We provide quantitative experimental evidence suggesting that (i) modern deep learning algorithms pre-trained on real data behave similarly in real and virtual worlds, and (ii) pre-training on virtual data improves performance. As the gap between real and virtual worlds is small, virtual worlds enable measuring the impact of various weather and imaging conditions on recognition performance, all other things being equal. We show these factors may affect drastically otherwise high-performing deep models for tracking.

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Deep Variational Bayes Filters: Unsupervised Learning of State Space Models from Raw Data

Maximilian Karl, Maximilian Soelch, Justin Bayer, Patrick van der Smagt

We introduce Deep Variational Bayes Filters (DVBF), a new method for unsupervised learning of latent Markovian state space models. Leveraging recent advances in Stochastic Gradient Variational Bayes, DVBF can overcome intractable inference distributions by means of variational inference. Thus, it can handle highly nonlinear input data with temporal and spatial dependencies such as image sequences without domain knowledge. Our experiments show that enabling backpropagation through transitions enforces state space assumptions and significantly improves information content of the latent embedding. This also enables realistic long-term prediction.

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Residual Networks are Exponential Ensembles of Relatively Shallow Networks

Andreas Veit, Michael Wilber, Serge Belongie

In this work, we introduce a novel interpretation of residual networks showing they are exponential ensembles. This observation is supported by a large-scale lesion study that demonstrates they behave just like ensembles at test time. Subsequently, we perform an analysis showing these ensembles mostly consist of networks that are each relatively shallow. For example, contrary to our expectations, most of the gradient in a residual network with 110 layers comes from an ensemble of very short networks, i.e., only 10-34 layers deep. This suggests that in addition to describing neural networks in terms of width and depth, there is a third dimension: multiplicity, the size of the implicit ensemble. Ultimately, residual networks do not resolve the vanishing gradient problem by preserving gradient flow throughout the entire depth of the network - rather, they avoid the problem simply by ensembling many short networks together. This insight reveals that depth is still an open research question and invites the exploration of the related notion of multiplicity.

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One-shot Learning with Memory-Augmented Neural Networks

Adam Santoro, Sergey Bartunov, Matthew Botvinick, Daan Wierstra, Timothy Lillicrap

Despite recent breakthroughs in the applications of deep neural networks, one setting that presents a persistent challenge is that of "one-shot learning." Traditional gradient-based networks require a lot of data to learn, often through extensive iterative training. When new data is encountered, the models must inefficiently relearn their parameters to adequately incorporate the new information without catastrophic interference. Architectures with augmented memory capacities, such as Neural Turing Machines (NTMs), offer the ability to quickly encode and retrieve new information, and hence can potentially obviate the downsides of conventional models. Here, we demonstrate the ability of a memory-augmented neural network to rapidly assimilate new data, and leverage this data to make accurate predictions after only a few samples. We also introduce a new method for accessing an external memory that focuses on memory content, unlike previous methods that additionally use memory location-based focusing mechanisms.

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Generative Adversarial Text to Image Synthesis

Scott Reed, Zeynep Akata, Xinchen Yan, Lajanugen Logeswaran, Bernt Schiele, Honglak Lee

Automatic synthesis of realistic images from text would be interesting and useful, but current AI systems are still far from this goal. However, in recent years generic and powerful recurrent neural network architectures have been developed to learn discriminative text feature representations. Meanwhile, deep convolutional generative adversarial networks (GANs) have begun to generate highly compelling images of specific categories, such as faces, album covers, and room interiors. In this work, we develop a novel deep architecture and GAN formulation to effectively bridge these advances in text and image model- ing, translating visual concepts from characters to pixels. We demonstrate the capability of our model to generate plausible images of birds and flowers from detailed text descriptions.

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Learning Convolutional Neural Networks for Graphs

Mathias Niepert, Mohamed Ahmed, Konstantin Kutzkov

Numerous important problems can be framed as learning from graph data. We propose a framework for learning convolutional neural networks for arbitrary graphs. These graphs may be undirected, directed, and with both discrete and continuous node and edge attributes. Analogous to image-based convolutional networks that operate on locally connected regions of the input, we present a general approach to extracting locally connected regions from graphs. Using established benchmark data sets, we demonstrate that the learned feature representations are competitive with state of the art graph kernels and that their computation is highly efficient.

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Bias and Agreement in Syntactic Annotations

Yevgeni Berzak, Yan Huang, Andrei Barbu, Anna Korhonen, Boris Katz

We present a study on two key characteristics of human syntactic annotations: anchoring and agreement. Anchoring is a well known cognitive bias in human decision making, where judgments are drawn towards pre-existing values. We study the influence of anchoring on a standard approach to creation of syntactic resources where syntactic annotations are obtained via human editing of tagger and parser output. Our experiments demonstrate a clear anchoring effect and reveal unwanted consequences, including overestimation of parsing performance and lower quality of annotations in comparison with human-based annotations. Using sentences from the Penn Treebank WSJ, we also report the first systematically obtained inter-annotator agreement estimates for English dependency parsing. Our agreement results control for anchoring bias, and are consequential in that they are on par with state of the art parsing performance for English. We discuss the impact of our findings on strategies for future annotation efforts and parser evaluations.

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Large-scale Analysis of Counseling Conversations: An Application of Natural Language Processing to Mental Health

Tim Althoff, Kevin Clark, Jure Leskovec

Mental illness is one of the most pressing public health issues of our time. While counseling and psychotherapy can be effective treatments, our knowledge about how to conduct successful counseling conversations has been limited due to lack of large-scale data with labeled outcomes of the conversations. In this paper, we present a large-scale, quantitative study on the discourse of text-message-based counseling conversations. We develop a set of novel computational discourse analysis methods to measure how various linguistic aspects of conversations are correlated with conversation outcomes. Applying techniques such as sequence-based conversation models, language model comparisons, message clustering, and psycholinguistics-inspired word frequency analyses, we discover actionable conversation strategies that are associated with better conversation outcomes.

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Movie Description

Anna Rohrbach, Atousa Torabi, Marcus Rohrbach, Niket Tandon, Christopher Pal, Hugo Larochelle, Aaron Courville, Bernt Schiele

Audio Description (AD) provides linguistic descriptions of movies and allows visually impaired people to follow a movie along with their peers. Such descriptions are by design mainly visual and thus naturally form an interesting data source for computer vision and computational linguistics. In this work we propose a novel dataset which contains transcribed ADs, which are temporally aligned to full length movies. In addition we also collected and aligned movie scripts used in prior work and compare the two sources of descriptions. In total the Large Scale Movie Description Challenge (LSMDC) contains a parallel corpus of 118,114 sentences and video clips from 202 movies. First we characterize the dataset by benchmarking different approaches for generating video descriptions. Comparing ADs to scripts, we find that ADs are indeed more visual and describe precisely what is shown rather than what should happen according to the scripts created prior to movie production. Furthermore, we present and compare the results of several teams who participated in a challenge organized in the context of the workshop "Describing and Understanding Video & The Large Scale Movie Description Challenge (LSMDC)", at ICCV 2015.

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ViZDoom: A Doom-based AI Research Platform for Visual Reinforcement Learning

Michał Kempka, Marek Wydmuch, Grzegorz Runc, Jakub Toczek, Wojciech Jaśkowski

The recent advances in deep neural networks have led to effective vision-based reinforcement learning methods that have been employed to obtain human-level controllers in Atari 2600 games from pixel data. Atari 2600 games, however, do not resemble real-world tasks since they involve non-realistic 2D environments and the third-person perspective. Here, we propose a novel test-bed platform for reinforcement learning research from raw visual information which employs the first-person perspective in a semi-realistic 3D world. The software, called ViZDoom, is based on the classical first-person shooter video game, Doom. It allows developing bots that play the game using the screen buffer. ViZDoom is lightweight, fast, and highly customizable via a convenient mechanism of user scenarios. In the experimental part, we test the environment by trying to learn bots for two scenarios: a basic move-and-shoot task and a more complex maze-navigation problem. Using convolutional deep neural networks with Q-learning and experience replay, for both scenarios, we were able to train competent bots, which exhibit human-like behaviors. The results confirm the utility of ViZDoom as an AI research platform and imply that visual reinforcement learning in 3D realistic first-person perspective environments is feasible.

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Learning Action Maps of Large Environments via First-Person Vision

Nicholas Rhinehart, Kris M. Kitani

When people observe and interact with physical spaces, they are able to associate functionality to regions in the environment. Our goal is to automate dense functional understanding of large spaces by leveraging sparse activity demonstrations recorded from an ego-centric viewpoint. The method we describe enables functionality estimation in large scenes where people have behaved, as well as novel scenes where no behaviors are observed. Our method learns and predicts "Action Maps", which encode the ability for a user to perform activities at various locations. With the usage of an egocentric camera to observe human activities, our method scales with the size of the scene without the need for mounting multiple static surveillance cameras and is well-suited to the task of observing activities up-close. We demonstrate that by capturing appearance-based attributes of the environment and associating these attributes with activity demonstrations, our proposed mathematical framework allows for the prediction of Action Maps in new environments. Additionally, we offer a preliminary glance of the applicability of Action Maps by demonstrating a proof-of-concept application in which they are used in concert with activity detections to perform localization.

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Artistic style transfer for videos

Manuel Ruder, Alexey Dosovitskiy, Thomas Brox

In the past, manually re-drawing an image in a certain artistic style required a professional artist and a long time. Doing this for a video sequence single-handed was beyond imagination. Nowadays computers provide new possibilities. We present an approach that transfers the style from one image (for example, a painting) to a whole video sequence. We make use of recent advances in style transfer in still images and propose new initializations and loss functions applicable to videos. This allows us to generate consistent and stable stylized video sequences, even in cases with large motion and strong occlusion. We show that the proposed method clearly outperforms simpler baselines both qualitatively and quantitatively.

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A Survey of Motion Planning and Control Techniques for Self-driving Urban Vehicles

Brian Paden, Michal Cap, Sze Zheng Yong, Dmitry Yershov, Emilio Frazzoli

Self-driving vehicles are a maturing technology with the potential to reshape mobility by enhancing the safety, accessibility, efficiency, and convenience of automotive transportation. Safety-critical tasks that must be executed by a self-driving vehicle include planning of motions through a dynamic environment shared with other vehicles and pedestrians, and their robust executions via feedback control. The objective of this paper is to survey the current state of the art on planning and control algorithms with particular regard to the urban setting. A selection of proposed techniques is reviewed along with a discussion of their effectiveness. The surveyed approaches differ in the vehicle mobility model used, in assumptions on the structure of the environment, and in computational requirements. The side-by-side comparison presented in this survey helps to gain insight into the strengths and limitations of the reviewed approaches and assists with system level design choices.

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Context Encoders: Feature Learning by Inpainting

Deepak Pathak, Philipp Krahenbuhl, Jeff Donahue, Trevor Darrell, Alexei A. Efros

We present an unsupervised visual feature learning algorithm driven by context-based pixel prediction. By analogy with auto-encoders, we propose Context Encoders -- a convolutional neural network trained to generate the contents of an arbitrary image region conditioned on its surroundings. In order to succeed at this task, context encoders need to both understand the content of the entire image, as well as produce a plausible hypothesis for the missing part(s). When training context encoders, we have experimented with both a standard pixel-wise reconstruction loss, as well as a reconstruction plus an adversarial loss. The latter produces much sharper results because it can better handle multiple modes in the output. We found that a context encoder learns a representation that captures not just appearance but also the semantics of visual structures. We quantitatively demonstrate the effectiveness of our learned features for CNN pre-training on classification, detection, and segmentation tasks. Furthermore, context encoders can be used for semantic inpainting tasks, either stand-alone or as initialization for non-parametric methods.

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End to End Learning for Self-Driving Cars

Mariusz Bojarski, Davide Del Testa, Daniel Dworakowski, Bernhard Firner, Beat Flepp, Prasoon Goyal, Lawrence D. Jackel, Mathew Monfort, Urs Muller, Jiakai Zhang, Xin Zhang, Jake Zhao, Karol Zieba

We trained a convolutional neural network (CNN) to map raw pixels from a single front-facing camera directly to steering commands. This end-to-end approach proved surprisingly powerful. With minimum training data from humans the system learns to drive in traffic on local roads with or without lane markings and on highways. It also operates in areas with unclear visual guidance such as in parking lots and on unpaved roads. The system automatically learns internal representations of the necessary processing steps such as detecting useful road features with only the human steering angle as the training signal. We never explicitly trained it to detect, for example, the outline of roads. Compared to explicit decomposition of the problem, such as lane marking detection, path planning, and control, our end-to-end system optimizes all processing steps simultaneously. We argue that this will eventually lead to better performance and smaller systems. Better performance will result because the internal components self-optimize to maximize overall system performance, instead of optimizing human-selected intermediate criteria, e.g., lane detection. Such criteria understandably are selected for ease of human interpretation which doesn't automatically guarantee maximum system performance. Smaller networks are possible because the system learns to solve the problem with the minimal number of processing steps. We used an NVIDIA DevBox and Torch 7 for training and an NVIDIA DRIVE(TM) PX self-driving car computer also running Torch 7 for determining where to drive. The system operates at 30 frames per second (FPS).

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Multilingual Part-of-Speech Tagging with Bidirectional Long Short-Term Memory Models and Auxiliary Loss

Barbara Plank, Anders Søgaard, Yoav Goldberg

Bidirectional long short-term memory (bi-LSTM) networks have recently proven successful for various NLP sequence modeling tasks, but little is known about their reliance to input representations, target languages, data set size, and label noise. We address these issues and evaluate bi-LSTMs with word, character, and unicode byte embeddings for POS tagging. We compare bi-LSTMs to traditional POS taggers across languages and data sizes. We also present a novel bi-LSTM model, which combines the POS tagging loss function with an auxiliary loss function that accounts for rare words. The model obtains state-of-the-art performance across 22 languages, and works especially well for morphologically complex languages. Our analysis suggests that bi-LSTMs are less sensitive to training data size and label corruptions (at small noise levels) than previously assumed.

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Understanding How Image Quality Affects Deep Neural Networks

Samuel Dodge, Lina Karam

Image quality is an important practical challenge that is often overlooked in the design of machine vision systems. Commonly, machine vision systems are trained and tested on high quality image datasets, yet in practical applications the input images can not be assumed to be of high quality. Recently, deep neural networks have obtained state-of-the-art performance on many machine vision tasks. In this paper we provide an evaluation of 4 state-of-the-art deep neural network models for image classification under quality distortions. We consider five types of quality distortions: blur, noise, contrast, JPEG, and JPEG2000 compression. We show that the existing networks are susceptible to these quality distortions, particularly to blur and noise. These results enable future work in developing deep neural networks that are more invariant to quality distortions.

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Optimizing Performance of Recurrent Neural Networks on GPUs

Jeremy Appleyard, Tomas Kocisky, Phil Blunsom

As recurrent neural networks become larger and deeper, training times for single networks are rising into weeks or even months. As such there is a significant incentive to improve the performance and scalability of these networks. While GPUs have become the hardware of choice for training and deploying recurrent models, the implementations employed often make use of only basic optimizations for these architectures. In this article we demonstrate that by exposing parallelism between operations within the network, an order of magnitude speedup across a range of network sizes can be achieved over a naive implementation. We describe three stages of optimization that have been incorporated into the fifth release of NVIDIA's cuDNN: firstly optimizing a single cell, secondly a single layer, and thirdly the entire network.

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An Ensemble Method to Produce High-Quality Word Embeddings

Robert Speer, Joshua Chin

A currently successful approach to computational semantics is to represent words as embeddings in a machine-learned vector space. We present an ensemble method that combines embeddings produced by GloVe (Pennington et al., 2014) and word2vec (Mikolov et al., 2013) with structured knowledge from the semantic networks ConceptNet (Speer and Havasi, 2012) and PPDB (Ganitkevitch et al., 2013), merging their information into a common representation with a large, multilingual vocabulary. The embeddings it produces achieve state-of-the-art performance on many word-similarity evaluations. Its score of $\rho = .596$ on an evaluation of rare words (Luong et al., 2013) is 16% higher than the previous best known system.

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Revisiting Distributed Synchronous SGD

Jianmin Chen, Rajat Monga, Samy Bengio, Rafal Jozefowicz

The recent success of deep learning approaches for domains like speech recognition (Hinton et al., 2012) and computer vision (Ioffe & Szegedy, 2015) stems from many algorithmic improvements but also from the fact that the size of available training data has grown significantly over the years, together with the computing power, in terms of both CPUs and GPUs. While a single GPU often provides algorithmic simplicity and speed up to a given scale of data and model, there exist an operating point where a distributed implementation of training algorithms for deep architectures becomes necessary. Previous works have been focusing on asynchronous SGD training, which works well up to a few dozens of workers for some models. In this work, we show that synchronous SGD training, with the help of backup workers, can not only achieve better accuracy, but also reach convergence faster with respect to wall time, i.e. use more workers more efficiently.

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