Research papers and code for "Dawei Yang":
Synthetic images rendered by graphics engines are a promising source for training deep networks. However, it is challenging to ensure that they can help train a network to perform well on real images, because a graphics-based generation pipeline requires numerous design decisions such as the selection of 3D shapes and the placement of the camera. In this work, we propose a new method that optimizes the generation of 3D training data based on what we call "hybrid gradient". We parametrize the design decisions as a real vector, and combine the approximate gradient and the analytical gradient to obtain the hybrid gradient of the network performance with respect to this vector. We evaluate our approach on the task of estimating surface normals from a single image. Experiments on standard benchmarks show that our approach can outperform the prior state of the art on optimizing the generation of 3D training data, particularly in terms of computational efficiency.

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In this paper, we address the shape-from-shading problem by training deep networks with synthetic images. Unlike conventional approaches that combine deep learning and synthetic imagery, we propose an approach that does not need any external shape dataset to render synthetic images. Our approach consists of two synergistic processes: the evolution of complex shapes from simple primitives, and the training of a deep network for shape-from-shading. The evolution generates better shapes guided by the network training, while the training improves by using the evolved shapes. We show that our approach achieves state-of-the-art performance on a shape-from-shading benchmark.

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Batch Normalization (BN) is capable of accelerating the training of deep models by centering and scaling activations within mini-batches. In this work, we propose Decorrelated Batch Normalization (DBN), which not just centers and scales activations but whitens them. We explore multiple whitening techniques, and find that PCA whitening causes a problem we call stochastic axis swapping, which is detrimental to learning. We show that ZCA whitening does not suffer from this problem, permitting successful learning. DBN retains the desirable qualities of BN and further improves BN's optimization efficiency and generalization ability. We design comprehensive experiments to show that DBN can improve the performance of BN on multilayer perceptrons and convolutional neural networks. Furthermore, we consistently improve the accuracy of residual networks on CIFAR-10, CIFAR-100, and ImageNet.

* Accepted to CVPR 2018. Code available at https://github.com/umich-vl/DecorrelatedBN
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This paper studies single-image depth perception in the wild, i.e., recovering depth from a single image taken in unconstrained settings. We introduce a new dataset "Depth in the Wild" consisting of images in the wild annotated with relative depth between pairs of random points. We also propose a new algorithm that learns to estimate metric depth using annotations of relative depth. Compared to the state of the art, our algorithm is simpler and performs better. Experiments show that our algorithm, combined with existing RGB-D data and our new relative depth annotations, significantly improves single-image depth perception in the wild.

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Highly expressive models such as deep neural networks (DNNs) have been widely applied to various applications and achieved increasing success. However, recent studies show that such machine learning models appear to be vulnerable against adversarial examples. So far adversarial examples have been heavily explored for 2D images, while few works have conducted to understand vulnerabilities of 3D objects which exist in real world, where 3D objects are projected to 2D domains by photo taking for different learning (recognition) tasks. In this paper, we consider adversarial behaviors in practical scenarios by manipulating the shape and texture of a given 3D mesh representation of an object. Our goal is to project the optimized "adversarial meshes" to 2D with a photorealistic renderer, and still able to mislead different machine learning models. Extensive experiments show that by generating unnoticeable 3D adversarial perturbation on shape or texture for a 3D mesh, the corresponding projected 2D instance can either lead classifiers to misclassify the victim object as an arbitrary malicious target, or hide any target object within the scene from object detectors. We conduct human studies to show that our optimized adversarial 3D perturbation is highly unnoticeable for human vision systems. In addition to the subtle perturbation for a given 3D mesh, we also propose to synthesize a realistic 3D mesh and put in a scene mimicking similar rendering conditions and therefore attack different machine learning models. In-depth analysis of transferability among various 3D renderers and vulnerable regions of meshes are provided to help better understand adversarial behaviors in real-world.

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Deep neural networks (DNNs) are found to be vulnerable against adversarial examples, which are carefully crafted inputs with a small magnitude of perturbation aiming to induce arbitrarily incorrect predictions. Recent studies show that adversarial examples can pose a threat to real-world security-critical applications: a "physical adversarial Stop Sign" can be synthesized such that the autonomous driving cars will misrecognize it as others (e.g., a speed limit sign). However, these image-space adversarial examples cannot easily alter 3D scans of widely equipped LiDAR or radar on autonomous vehicles. In this paper, we reveal the potential vulnerabilities of LiDAR-based autonomous driving detection systems, by proposing an optimization based approach LiDAR-Adv to generate adversarial objects that can evade the LiDAR-based detection system under various conditions. We first show the vulnerabilities using a blackbox evolution-based algorithm, and then explore how much a strong adversary can do, using our gradient-based approach LiDAR-Adv. We test the generated adversarial objects on the Baidu Apollo autonomous driving platform and show that such physical systems are indeed vulnerable to the proposed attacks. We also 3D-print our adversarial objects and perform physical experiments to illustrate that such vulnerability exists in the real world. Please find more visualizations and results on the anonymous website: https://sites.google.com/view/lidar-adv.

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The increasing popularity of real-world recommender systems produces data continuously and rapidly, and it becomes more realistic to study recommender systems under streaming scenarios. Data streams present distinct properties such as temporally ordered, continuous and high-velocity, which poses tremendous challenges to traditional recommender systems. In this paper, we investigate the problem of recommendation with stream inputs. In particular, we provide a principled framework termed sRec, which provides explicit continuous-time random process models of the creation of users and topics, and of the evolution of their interests. A variational Bayesian approach called recursive meanfield approximation is proposed, which permits computationally efficient instantaneous on-line inference. Experimental results on several real-world datasets demonstrate the advantages of our sRec over other state-of-the-arts.

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With the advantage of high mobility, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are used to fuel numerous important applications in computer vision, delivering more efficiency and convenience than surveillance cameras with fixed camera angle, scale and view. However, very limited UAV datasets are proposed, and they focus only on a specific task such as visual tracking or object detection in relatively constrained scenarios. Consequently, it is of great importance to develop an unconstrained UAV benchmark to boost related researches. In this paper, we construct a new UAV benchmark focusing on complex scenarios with new level challenges. Selected from 10 hours raw videos, about 80,000 representative frames are fully annotated with bounding boxes as well as up to 14 kinds of attributes (e.g., weather condition, flying altitude, camera view, vehicle category, and occlusion) for three fundamental computer vision tasks: object detection, single object tracking, and multiple object tracking. Then, a detailed quantitative study is performed using most recent state-of-the-art algorithms for each task. Experimental results show that the current state-of-the-art methods perform relative worse on our dataset, due to the new challenges appeared in UAV based real scenes, e.g., high density, small object, and camera motion. To our knowledge, our work is the first time to explore such issues in unconstrained scenes comprehensively.

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In recent years, numerous effective multi-object tracking (MOT) methods are developed because of the wide range of applications. Existing performance evaluations of MOT methods usually separate the object tracking step from the object detection step by using the same fixed object detection results for comparisons. In this work, we perform a comprehensive quantitative study on the effects of object detection accuracy to the overall MOT performance, using the new large-scale University at Albany DETection and tRACking (UA-DETRAC) benchmark dataset. The UA-DETRAC benchmark dataset consists of 100 challenging video sequences captured from real-world traffic scenes (over 140,000 frames with rich annotations, including occlusion, weather, vehicle category, truncation, and vehicle bounding boxes) for object detection, object tracking and MOT system. We evaluate complete MOT systems constructed from combinations of state-of-the-art object detection and object tracking methods. Our analysis shows the complex effects of object detection accuracy on MOT system performance. Based on these observations, we propose new evaluation tools and metrics for MOT systems that consider both object detection and object tracking for comprehensive analysis.

* 18 pages, 11 figures
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We propose a feature selection method that finds non-redundant features from a large and high-dimensional data in nonlinear way. Specifically, we propose a nonlinear extension of the non-negative least-angle regression (LARS) called N${}^3$LARS, where the similarity between input and output is measured through the normalized version of the Hilbert-Schmidt Independence Criterion (HSIC). An advantage of N${}^3$LARS is that it can easily incorporate with map-reduce frameworks such as Hadoop and Spark. Thus, with the help of distributed computing, a set of features can be efficiently selected from a large and high-dimensional data. Moreover, N${}^3$LARS is a convex method and can find a global optimum solution. The effectiveness of the proposed method is first demonstrated through feature selection experiments for classification and regression with small and high-dimensional datasets. Finally, we evaluate our proposed method over a large and high-dimensional biology dataset.

* arXiv admin note: text overlap with arXiv:1202.0515
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Machine learning methods are used to discover complex nonlinear relationships in biological and medical data. However, sophisticated learning models are computationally unfeasible for data with millions of features. Here we introduce the first feature selection method for nonlinear learning problems that can scale up to large, ultra-high dimensional biological data. More specifically, we scale up the novel Hilbert-Schmidt Independence Criterion Lasso (HSIC Lasso) to handle millions of features with tens of thousand samples. The proposed method is guaranteed to find an optimal subset of maximally predictive features with minimal redundancy, yielding higher predictive power and improved interpretability. Its effectiveness is demonstrated through applications to classify phenotypes based on module expression in human prostate cancer patients and to detect enzymes among protein structures. We achieve high accuracy with as few as 20 out of one million features --- a dimensionality reduction of 99.998%. Our algorithm can be implemented on commodity cloud computing platforms. The dramatic reduction of features may lead to the ubiquitous deployment of sophisticated prediction models in mobile health care applications.

* Substantially improved version of arXiv:1411.2331
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