Research papers and code for "Gang Hua":
We present FusedGAN, a deep network for conditional image synthesis with controllable sampling of diverse images. Fidelity, diversity and controllable sampling are the main quality measures of a good image generation model. Most existing models are insufficient in all three aspects. The FusedGAN can perform controllable sampling of diverse images with very high fidelity. We argue that controllability can be achieved by disentangling the generation process into various stages. In contrast to stacked GANs, where multiple stages of GANs are trained separately with full supervision of labeled intermediate images, the FusedGAN has a single stage pipeline with a built-in stacking of GANs. Unlike existing methods, which requires full supervision with paired conditions and images, the FusedGAN can effectively leverage more abundant images without corresponding conditions in training, to produce more diverse samples with high fidelity. We achieve this by fusing two generators: one for unconditional image generation, and the other for conditional image generation, where the two partly share a common latent space thereby disentangling the generation. We demonstrate the efficacy of the FusedGAN in fine grained image generation tasks such as text-to-image, and attribute-to-face generation.

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Selecting attractive photos from a human action shot sequence is quite challenging, because of the subjective nature of the "attractiveness", which is mainly a combined factor of human pose in action and the background. Prior works have actively studied high-level image attributes including interestingness, memorability, popularity, and aesthetics. However, none of them has ever studied the "attractiveness" of human action shot. In this paper, we present the first study of the "attractiveness" of human action shots by taking a systematic data-driven approach. Specifically, we create a new action-shot dataset composed of about 8000 high quality action-shot photos. We further conduct rich crowd-sourced human judge studies on Amazon Mechanical Turk(AMT) in terms of global attractiveness of a single photo, and relative attractiveness of a pair of photos. A deep Siamese network with a novel hybrid distribution matching loss was further proposed to fully exploit both types of ratings. Extensive experiments reveal that (1) the property of action shot attractiveness is subjective but predicable (2) our proposed method is both efficient and effective for predicting the attractive human action shots.

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Printed text recognition is an important problem for industrial OCR systems. Printed text is constructed in a standard procedural fashion in most settings. We develop a mathematical model for this process that can be applied to the backward inference problem of text recognition from an image. Through ablation experiments we show that this model is realistic and that a multi-task objective setting can help to stabilize estimation of its free parameters, enabling use of conventional deep learning methods. Furthermore, by directly modeling the geometric perturbations of text synthesis we show that our model can help recover missing characters from incomplete text regions, the bane of multicomponent OCR systems, enabling recognition even when the detection returns incomplete information.

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Although weight and activation quantization is an effective approach for Deep Neural Network (DNN) compression and has a lot of potentials to increase inference speed leveraging bit-operations, there is still a noticeable gap in terms of prediction accuracy between the quantized model and the full-precision model. To address this gap, we propose to jointly train a quantized, bit-operation-compatible DNN and its associated quantizers, as opposed to using fixed, handcrafted quantization schemes such as uniform or logarithmic quantization. Our method for learning the quantizers applies to both network weights and activations with arbitrary-bit precision, and our quantizers are easy to train. The comprehensive experiments on CIFAR-10 and ImageNet datasets show that our method works consistently well for various network structures such as AlexNet, VGG-Net, GoogLeNet, ResNet, and DenseNet, surpassing previous quantization methods in terms of accuracy by an appreciable margin. Code available at https://github.com/Microsoft/LQ-Nets

* ECCV'18 (European Conference on Computer Vision); Main paper + suppl. material
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Safety is paramount for mobile robotic platforms such as self-driving cars and unmanned aerial vehicles. This work is devoted to a task that is indispensable for safety yet was largely overlooked in the past -- detecting obstacles that are of very thin structures, such as wires, cables and tree branches. This is a challenging problem, as thin objects can be problematic for active sensors such as lidar and sonar and even for stereo cameras. In this work, we propose to use video sequences for thin obstacle detection. We represent obstacles with edges in the video frames, and reconstruct them in 3D using efficient edge-based visual odometry techniques. We provide both a monocular camera solution and a stereo camera solution. The former incorporates Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) data to solve scale ambiguity, while the latter enjoys a novel, purely vision-based solution. Experiments demonstrated that the proposed methods are fast and able to detect thin obstacles robustly and accurately under various conditions.

* Appeared at IEEE CVPR 2017 Workshop on Embedded Vision
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We examine the problem of joint top-down active search of multiple objects under interaction, e.g., person riding a bicycle, cups held by the table, etc.. Such objects under interaction often can provide contextual cues to each other to facilitate more efficient search. By treating each detector as an agent, we present the first collaborative multi-agent deep reinforcement learning algorithm to learn the optimal policy for joint active object localization, which effectively exploits such beneficial contextual information. We learn inter-agent communication through cross connections with gates between the Q-networks, which is facilitated by a novel multi-agent deep Q-learning algorithm with joint exploitation sampling. We verify our proposed method on multiple object detection benchmarks. Not only does our model help to improve the performance of state-of-the-art active localization models, it also reveals interesting co-detection patterns that are intuitively interpretable.

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Large pose variations remain to be a challenge that confronts real-word face detection. We propose a new cascaded Convolutional Neural Network, dubbed the name Supervised Transformer Network, to address this challenge. The first stage is a multi-task Region Proposal Network (RPN), which simultaneously predicts candidate face regions along with associated facial landmarks. The candidate regions are then warped by mapping the detected facial landmarks to their canonical positions to better normalize the face patterns. The second stage, which is a RCNN, then verifies if the warped candidate regions are valid faces or not. We conduct end-to-end learning of the cascaded network, including optimizing the canonical positions of the facial landmarks. This supervised learning of the transformations automatically selects the best scale to differentiate face/non-face patterns. By combining feature maps from both stages of the network, we achieve state-of-the-art detection accuracies on several public benchmarks. For real-time performance, we run the cascaded network only on regions of interests produced from a boosting cascade face detector. Our detector runs at 30 FPS on a single CPU core for a VGA-resolution image.

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While invaluable for many computer vision applications, decomposing a natural image into intrinsic reflectance and shading layers represents a challenging, underdetermined inverse problem. As opposed to strict reliance on conventional optimization or filtering solutions with strong prior assumptions, deep learning based approaches have also been proposed to compute intrinsic image decompositions when granted access to sufficient labeled training data. The downside is that current data sources are quite limited, and broadly speaking fall into one of two categories: either dense fully-labeled images in synthetic/narrow settings, or weakly-labeled data from relatively diverse natural scenes. In contrast to many previous learning-based approaches, which are often tailored to the structure of a particular dataset (and may not work well on others), we adopt core network structures that universally reflect loose prior knowledge regarding the intrinsic image formation process and can be largely shared across datasets. We then apply flexibly supervised loss layers that are customized for each source of ground truth labels. The resulting deep architecture achieves state-of-the-art results on all of the major intrinsic image benchmarks, and runs considerably faster than most at test time.

* Accepted by CVPR'18 as Oral presentation (Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition)
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We propose a framework based on Generative Adversarial Networks to disentangle the identity and attributes of faces, such that we can conveniently recombine different identities and attributes for identity preserving face synthesis in open domains. Previous identity preserving face synthesis processes are largely confined to synthesizing faces with known identities that are already in the training dataset. To synthesize a face with identity outside the training dataset, our framework requires one input image of that subject to produce an identity vector, and any other input face image to extract an attribute vector capturing, e.g., pose, emotion, illumination, and even the background. We then recombine the identity vector and the attribute vector to synthesize a new face of the subject with the extracted attribute. Our proposed framework does not need to annotate the attributes of faces in any way. It is trained with an asymmetric loss function to better preserve the identity and stabilize the training process. It can also effectively leverage large amounts of unlabeled training face images to further improve the fidelity of the synthesized faces for subjects that are not presented in the labeled training face dataset. Our experiments demonstrate the efficacy of the proposed framework. We also present its usage in a much broader set of applications including face frontalization, face attribute morphing, and face adversarial example detection.

* 2018 IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition(CVPR 2018)
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In this paper, we study the problem of image-text matching. Inferring the latent semantic alignment between objects or other salient stuff (e.g. snow, sky, lawn) and the corresponding words in sentences allows to capture fine-grained interplay between vision and language, and makes image-text matching more interpretable. Prior work either simply aggregates the similarity of all possible pairs of regions and words without attending differentially to more and less important words or regions, or uses a multi-step attentional process to capture limited number of semantic alignments which is less interpretable. In this paper, we present Stacked Cross Attention to discover the full latent alignments using both image regions and words in a sentence as context and infer image-text similarity. Our approach achieves the state-of-the-art results on the MS-COCO and Flickr30K datasets. On Flickr30K, our approach outperforms the current best methods by 22.1% relatively in text retrieval from image query, and 18.2% relatively in image retrieval with text query (based on Recall@1). On MS-COCO, our approach improves sentence retrieval by 17.8% relatively and image retrieval by 16.6% relatively (based on Recall@1 using the 5K test set). Code has been made available at: https://github.com/kuanghuei/SCAN.

* Accepted to ECCV 2018
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This paper proposes a deep neural network structure that exploits edge information in addressing representative low-level vision tasks such as layer separation and image filtering. Unlike most other deep learning strategies applied in this context, our approach tackles these challenging problems by estimating edges and reconstructing images using only cascaded convolutional layers arranged such that no handcrafted or application-specific image-processing components are required. We apply the resulting transferrable pipeline to two different problem domains that are both sensitive to edges, namely, single image reflection removal and image smoothing. For the former, using a mild reflection smoothness assumption and a novel synthetic data generation method that acts as a type of weak supervision, our network is able to solve much more difficult reflection cases that cannot be handled by previous methods. For the latter, we also exceed the state-of-the-art quantitative and qualitative results by wide margins. In all cases, the proposed framework is simple, fast, and easy to transfer across disparate domains.

* Appeared at ICCV'17 (International Conference on Computer Vision)
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This paper presents the first attempt at stereoscopic neural style transfer, which responds to the emerging demand for 3D movies or AR/VR. We start with a careful examination of applying existing monocular style transfer methods to left and right views of stereoscopic images separately. This reveals that the original disparity consistency cannot be well preserved in the final stylization results, which causes 3D fatigue to the viewers. To address this issue, we incorporate a new disparity loss into the widely adopted style loss function by enforcing the bidirectional disparity constraint in non-occluded regions. For a practical real-time solution, we propose the first feed-forward network by jointly training a stylization sub-network and a disparity sub-network, and integrate them in a feature level middle domain. Our disparity sub-network is also the first end-to-end network for simultaneous bidirectional disparity and occlusion mask estimation. Finally, our network is effectively extended to stereoscopic videos, by considering both temporal coherence and disparity consistency. We will show that the proposed method clearly outperforms the baseline algorithms both quantitatively and qualitatively.

* Accepted by CVPR2018
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Variational autoencoders (VAE) represent a popular, flexible form of deep generative model that can be stochastically fit to samples from a given random process using an information-theoretic variational bound on the true underlying distribution. Once so-obtained, the model can be putatively used to generate new samples from this distribution, or to provide a low-dimensional latent representation of existing samples. While quite effective in numerous application domains, certain important mechanisms which govern the behavior of the VAE are obfuscated by the intractable integrals and resulting stochastic approximations involved. Moreover, as a highly non-convex model, it remains unclear exactly how minima of the underlying energy relate to original design purposes. We attempt to better quantify these issues by analyzing a series of tractable special cases of increasing complexity. In doing so, we unveil interesting connections with more traditional dimensionality reduction models, as well as an intrinsic yet underappreciated propensity for robustly dismissing sparse outliers when estimating latent manifolds. With respect to the latter, we demonstrate that the VAE can be viewed as the natural evolution of recent robust PCA models, capable of learning nonlinear manifolds of unknown dimension obscured by gross corruptions.

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We present variational generative adversarial networks, a general learning framework that combines a variational auto-encoder with a generative adversarial network, for synthesizing images in fine-grained categories, such as faces of a specific person or objects in a category. Our approach models an image as a composition of label and latent attributes in a probabilistic model. By varying the fine-grained category label fed into the resulting generative model, we can generate images in a specific category with randomly drawn values on a latent attribute vector. Our approach has two novel aspects. First, we adopt a cross entropy loss for the discriminative and classifier network, but a mean discrepancy objective for the generative network. This kind of asymmetric loss function makes the GAN training more stable. Second, we adopt an encoder network to learn the relationship between the latent space and the real image space, and use pairwise feature matching to keep the structure of generated images. We experiment with natural images of faces, flowers, and birds, and demonstrate that the proposed models are capable of generating realistic and diverse samples with fine-grained category labels. We further show that our models can be applied to other tasks, such as image inpainting, super-resolution, and data augmentation for training better face recognition models.

* to appear in ICCV 2017
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We propose a new technique for visual attribute transfer across images that may have very different appearance but have perceptually similar semantic structure. By visual attribute transfer, we mean transfer of visual information (such as color, tone, texture, and style) from one image to another. For example, one image could be that of a painting or a sketch while the other is a photo of a real scene, and both depict the same type of scene. Our technique finds semantically-meaningful dense correspondences between two input images. To accomplish this, it adapts the notion of "image analogy" with features extracted from a Deep Convolutional Neutral Network for matching; we call our technique Deep Image Analogy. A coarse-to-fine strategy is used to compute the nearest-neighbor field for generating the results. We validate the effectiveness of our proposed method in a variety of cases, including style/texture transfer, color/style swap, sketch/painting to photo, and time lapse.

* Accepted by SIGGRAPH 2017
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We propose StyleBank, which is composed of multiple convolution filter banks and each filter bank explicitly represents one style, for neural image style transfer. To transfer an image to a specific style, the corresponding filter bank is operated on top of the intermediate feature embedding produced by a single auto-encoder. The StyleBank and the auto-encoder are jointly learnt, where the learning is conducted in such a way that the auto-encoder does not encode any style information thanks to the flexibility introduced by the explicit filter bank representation. It also enables us to conduct incremental learning to add a new image style by learning a new filter bank while holding the auto-encoder fixed. The explicit style representation along with the flexible network design enables us to fuse styles at not only the image level, but also the region level. Our method is the first style transfer network that links back to traditional texton mapping methods, and hence provides new understanding on neural style transfer. Our method is easy to train, runs in real-time, and produces results that qualitatively better or at least comparable to existing methods.

* Accepted by CVPR 2017, corrected typos
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Training a feed-forward network for fast neural style transfer of images is proven to be successful. However, the naive extension to process video frame by frame is prone to producing flickering results. We propose the first end-to-end network for online video style transfer, which generates temporally coherent stylized video sequences in near real-time. Two key ideas include an efficient network by incorporating short-term coherence, and propagating short-term coherence to long-term, which ensures the consistency over larger period of time. Our network can incorporate different image stylization networks. We show that the proposed method clearly outperforms the per-frame baseline both qualitatively and quantitatively. Moreover, it can achieve visually comparable coherence to optimization-based video style transfer, but is three orders of magnitudes faster in runtime.

* Corrected typos
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Event retrieval and recognition in a large corpus of videos necessitates a holistic fixed-size visual representation at the video clip level that is comprehensive, compact, and yet discriminative. It shall comprehensively aggregate information across relevant video frames, while suppress redundant information, leading to a compact representation that can effectively differentiate among different visual events. In search for such a representation, we propose to build a spatially consistent counting grid model to aggregate together deep features extracted from different video frames. The spatial consistency of the counting grid model is achieved by introducing a prior model estimated from a large corpus of video data. The counting grid model produces an intermediate tensor representation for each video, which automatically identifies and removes the feature redundancy across the different frames. The tensor representation is subsequently reduced to a fixed-size vector representation by averaging over the counting grid. When compared to existing methods on both event retrieval and event classification benchmarks, we achieve significantly better accuracy with much more compact representation.

* This paper has been withdrawn by the author because this work will be part of another object which will be released soon
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Many different deep networks have been used to approximate, accelerate or improve traditional image operators. Among these traditional operators, many contain parameters which need to be tweaked to obtain the satisfactory results, which we refer to as parameterized image operators. However, most existing deep networks trained for these operators are only designed for one specific parameter configuration, which does not meet the needs of real scenarios that usually require flexible parameters settings. To overcome this limitation, we propose a new decoupled learning algorithm to learn from the operator parameters to dynamically adjust the weights of a deep network for image operators, denoted as the base network. The learned algorithm is formed as another network, namely the weight learning network, which can be end-to-end jointly trained with the base network. Experiments demonstrate that the proposed framework can be successfully applied to many traditional parameterized image operators. To accelerate the parameter tuning for practical scenarios, the proposed framework can be further extended to dynamically change the weights of only one single layer of the base network while sharing most computation cost. We demonstrate that this cheap parameter-tuning extension of the proposed decoupled learning framework even outperforms the state-of-the-art alternative approaches.

* Published in TPAMI 2019. arXiv admin note: substantial text overlap with arXiv:1807.08186
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Many different deep networks have been used to approximate, accelerate or improve traditional image operators, such as image smoothing, super-resolution and denoising. Among these traditional operators, many contain parameters which need to be tweaked to obtain the satisfactory results, which we refer to as "parameterized image operators". However, most existing deep networks trained for these operators are only designed for one specific parameter configuration, which does not meet the needs of real scenarios that usually require flexible parameters settings. To overcome this limitation, we propose a new decouple learning algorithm to learn from the operator parameters to dynamically adjust the weights of a deep network for image operators, denoted as the base network. The learned algorithm is formed as another network, namely the weight learning network, which can be end-to-end jointly trained with the base network. Experiments demonstrate that the proposed framework can be successfully applied to many traditional parameterized image operators. We provide more analysis to better understand the proposed framework, which may inspire more promising research in this direction. Our codes and models have been released in https://github.com/fqnchina/DecoupleLearning

* Accepted by ECCV2018
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