Research papers and code for "Claudio Michaelis":
We tackle the problem of one-shot segmentation: finding and segmenting a previously unseen object in a cluttered scene based on a single instruction example. We propose a novel dataset, which we call $\textit{cluttered Omniglot}$. Using a baseline architecture combining a Siamese embedding for detection with a U-net for segmentation we show that increasing levels of clutter make the task progressively harder. Using oracle models with access to various amounts of ground-truth information, we evaluate different aspects of the problem and show that in this kind of visual search task, detection and segmentation are two intertwined problems, the solution to each of which helps solving the other. We therefore introduce $\textit{MaskNet}$, an improved model that attends to multiple candidate locations, generates segmentation proposals to mask out background clutter and selects among the segmented objects. Our findings suggest that such image recognition models based on an iterative refinement of object detection and foreground segmentation may provide a way to deal with highly cluttered scenes.

* To appaer in: $\textit{Proceedings of the $\mathit{35}^{th}$ International Conference on Machine Learning}$, Stockholm, Sweden, PMLR 80, 2018
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We introduce one-shot texture segmentation: the task of segmenting an input image containing multiple textures given a patch of a reference texture. This task is designed to turn the problem of texture-based perceptual grouping into an objective benchmark. We show that it is straight-forward to generate large synthetic data sets for this task from a relatively small number of natural textures. In particular, this task can be cast as a self-supervised problem thereby alleviating the need for massive amounts of manually annotated data necessary for traditional segmentation tasks. In this paper we introduce and study two concrete data sets: a dense collage of textures (CollTex) and a cluttered texturized Omniglot data set. We show that a baseline model trained on these synthesized data is able to generalize to natural images and videos without further fine-tuning, suggesting that the learned image representations are useful for higher-level vision tasks.

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We tackle one-shot visual search by example for arbitrary object categories: Given an example image of a novel reference object, find and segment all object instances of the same category within a scene. To address this problem, we propose Siamese Mask R-CNN. It extends Mask R-CNN by a Siamese backbone encoding both reference image and scene, allowing it to target detection and segmentation towards the reference category. We use Siamese Mask R-CNN to perform one-shot instance segmentation on MS-COCO, demonstrating that it can detect and segment objects of novel categories it was not trained on, and without using mask annotations at test time. Our results highlight challenges of the one-shot setting: while transferring knowledge about instance segmentation to novel object categories not used during training works very well, targeting the detection and segmentation networks towards the reference category appears to be more difficult. Our work provides a first strong baseline for one-shot instance segmentation and will hopefully inspire further research in this relatively unexplored field.

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Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) are commonly thought to recognise objects by learning increasingly complex representations of object shapes. Some recent studies hint to a more important role of image textures. We here put these conflicting hypotheses to a quantitative test by evaluating CNNs and human observers on images with a texture-shape cue conflict. We show that ImageNet-trained CNNs are strongly biased towards recognising textures rather than shapes, which is in stark contrast to human behavioural evidence and reveals fundamentally different classification strategies. We then demonstrate that the same standard architecture (ResNet-50) that learns a texture-based representation on ImageNet is able to learn a shape-based representation instead when trained on "Stylized-ImageNet", a stylized version of ImageNet. This provides a much better fit for human behavioural performance in our well-controlled psychophysical lab setting (nine experiments totalling 48,560 psychophysical trials across 97 observers) and comes with a number of unexpected emergent benefits such as improved object detection performance and previously unseen robustness towards a wide range of image distortions, highlighting advantages of a shape-based representation.

* Under review at ICLR 2019 (review scores 8,8,7)
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