Research papers and code for "Jianping Shi":
We propose GeoNet, a jointly unsupervised learning framework for monocular depth, optical flow and ego-motion estimation from videos. The three components are coupled by the nature of 3D scene geometry, jointly learned by our framework in an end-to-end manner. Specifically, geometric relationships are extracted over the predictions of individual modules and then combined as an image reconstruction loss, reasoning about static and dynamic scene parts separately. Furthermore, we propose an adaptive geometric consistency loss to increase robustness towards outliers and non-Lambertian regions, which resolves occlusions and texture ambiguities effectively. Experimentation on the KITTI driving dataset reveals that our scheme achieves state-of-the-art results in all of the three tasks, performing better than previously unsupervised methods and comparably with supervised ones.

* Accepted to CVPR 2018; Code will be made available at https://github.com/yzcjtr/GeoNet
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Recent years have seen remarkable progress in semantic segmentation. Yet, it remains a challenging task to apply segmentation techniques to video-based applications. Specifically, the high throughput of video streams, the sheer cost of running fully convolutional networks, together with the low-latency requirements in many real-world applications, e.g. autonomous driving, present a significant challenge to the design of the video segmentation framework. To tackle this combined challenge, we develop a framework for video semantic segmentation, which incorporates two novel components: (1) a feature propagation module that adaptively fuses features over time via spatially variant convolution, thus reducing the cost of per-frame computation; and (2) an adaptive scheduler that dynamically allocate computation based on accuracy prediction. Both components work together to ensure low latency while maintaining high segmentation quality. On both Cityscapes and CamVid, the proposed framework obtained competitive performance compared to the state of the art, while substantially reducing the latency, from 360 ms to 119 ms.

* Accepted by CVPR 2018 as Spotlight
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Duplicate removal is a critical step to accomplish a reasonable amount of predictions in prevalent proposal-based object detection frameworks. Albeit simple and effective, most previous algorithms utilize a greedy process without making sufficient use of properties of input data. In this work, we design a new two-stage framework to effectively select the appropriate proposal candidate for each object. The first stage suppresses most of easy negative object proposals, while the second stage selects true positives in the reduced proposal set. These two stages share the same network structure, \ie, an encoder and a decoder formed as recurrent neural networks (RNN) with global attention and context gate. The encoder scans proposal candidates in a sequential manner to capture the global context information, which is then fed to the decoder to extract optimal proposals. In our extensive experiments, the proposed method outperforms other alternatives by a large margin.

* Accepted in NIPS 2018
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Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) have achieved great successes in many computer vision problems. Unlike existing works that designed CNN architectures to improve performance on a single task of a single domain and not generalizable, we present IBN-Net, a novel convolutional architecture, which remarkably enhances a CNN's modeling ability on one domain (e.g. Cityscapes) as well as its generalization capacity on another domain (e.g. GTA5) without finetuning. IBN-Net carefully integrates Instance Normalization (IN) and Batch Normalization (BN) as building blocks, and can be wrapped into many advanced deep networks to improve their performances. This work has three key contributions. (1) By delving into IN and BN, we disclose that IN learns features that are invariant to appearance changes, such as colors, styles, and virtuality/reality, while BN is essential for preserving content related information. (2) IBN-Net can be applied to many advanced deep architectures, such as DenseNet, ResNet, ResNeXt, and SENet, and consistently improve their performance without increasing computational cost. (3) When applying the trained networks to new domains, e.g. from GTA5 to Cityscapes, IBN-Net achieves comparable improvements as domain adaptation methods, even without using data from the target domain. With IBN-Net, we won the 1st place on the WAD 2018 Challenge Drivable Area track, with an mIoU of 86.18%.

* Accepted for publication at ECCV 2018
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The task of face attribute manipulation has found increasing applications, but still remains challeng- ing with the requirement of editing the attributes of a face image while preserving its unique details. In this paper, we choose to combine the Variational AutoEncoder (VAE) and Generative Adversarial Network (GAN) for photorealistic image genera- tion. We propose an effective method to modify a modest amount of pixels in the feature maps of an encoder, changing the attribute strength contin- uously without hindering global information. Our training objectives of VAE and GAN are reinforced by the supervision of face recognition loss and cy- cle consistency loss for faithful preservation of face details. Moreover, we generate facial masks to en- force background consistency, which allows our training to focus on manipulating the foreground face rather than background. Experimental results demonstrate our method, called Mask-Adversarial AutoEncoder (M-AAE), can generate high-quality images with changing attributes and outperforms prior methods in detail preservation.

* 7 pages, 4 figures
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Complex structures commonly exist in natural images. When an image contains small-scale high-contrast patterns either in the background or foreground, saliency detection could be adversely affected, resulting erroneous and non-uniform saliency assignment. The issue forms a fundamental challenge for prior methods. We tackle it from a scale point of view and propose a multi-layer approach to analyze saliency cues. Different from varying patch sizes or downsizing images, we measure region-based scales. The final saliency values are inferred optimally combining all the saliency cues in different scales using hierarchical inference. Through our inference model, single-scale information is selected to obtain a saliency map. Our method improves detection quality on many images that cannot be handled well traditionally. We also construct an extended Complex Scene Saliency Dataset (ECSSD) to include complex but general natural images.

* 14 pages, 15 figures
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Unpaired Image-to-image Translation is a new rising and challenging vision problem that aims to learn a mapping between unaligned image pairs in diverse domains. Recent advances in this field like MUNIT and DRIT mainly focus on disentangling content and style/attribute from a given image first, then directly adopting the global style to guide the model to synthesize new domain images. However, this kind of approaches severely incurs contradiction if the target domain images are content-rich with multiple discrepant objects. In this paper, we present a simple yet effective instance-aware image-to-image translation approach (INIT), which employs the fine-grained local (instance) and global styles to the target image spatially. The proposed INIT exhibits three import advantages: (1) the instance-level objective loss can help learn a more accurate reconstruction and incorporate diverse attributes of objects; (2) the styles used for target domain of local/global areas are from corresponding spatial regions in source domain, which intuitively is a more reasonable mapping; (3) the joint training process can benefit both fine and coarse granularity and incorporates instance information to improve the quality of global translation. We also collect a large-scale benchmark for the new instance-level translation task. We observe that our synthetic images can even benefit real-world vision tasks like generic object detection.

* Accepted to CVPR 2019. Project page: http://zhiqiangshen.com/projects/INIT/index.html
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Face parsing is an important problem in computer vision that finds numerous applications including recognition and editing. Recently, deep convolutional neural networks (CNNs) have been applied to image parsing and segmentation with the state-of-the-art performance. In this paper, we propose a face parsing algorithm that combines hierarchical representations learned by a CNN, and accurate label propagations achieved by a spatially variant recurrent neural network (RNN). The RNN-based propagation approach enables efficient inference over a global space with the guidance of semantic edges generated by a local convolutional model. Since the convolutional architecture can be shallow and the spatial RNN can have few parameters, the framework is much faster and more light-weighted than the state-of-the-art CNNs for the same task. We apply the proposed model to coarse-grained and fine-grained face parsing. For fine-grained face parsing, we develop a two-stage approach by first identifying the main regions and then segmenting the detail components, which achieves better performance in terms of accuracy and efficiency. With a single GPU, the proposed algorithm parses face images accurately at 300 frames per second, which facilitates real-time applications.

* 10 pages, 5 figures, BMVC 2017
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Several benchmark datasets for visual tracking research have been proposed in recent years. Despite their usefulness, whether they are sufficient for understanding and diagnosing the strengths and weaknesses of different trackers remains questionable. To address this issue, we propose a framework by breaking a tracker down into five constituent parts, namely, motion model, feature extractor, observation model, model updater, and ensemble post-processor. We then conduct ablative experiments on each component to study how it affects the overall result. Surprisingly, our findings are discrepant with some common beliefs in the visual tracking research community. We find that the feature extractor plays the most important role in a tracker. On the other hand, although the observation model is the focus of many studies, we find that it often brings no significant improvement. Moreover, the motion model and model updater contain many details that could affect the result. Also, the ensemble post-processor can improve the result substantially when the constituent trackers have high diversity. Based on our findings, we put together some very elementary building blocks to give a basic tracker which is competitive in performance to the state-of-the-art trackers. We believe our framework can provide a solid baseline when conducting controlled experiments for visual tracking research.

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Normalization methods are essential components in convolutional neural networks (CNNs). They either standardize or whiten data using statistics estimated in predefined sets of pixels. Unlike existing works that design normalization techniques for specific tasks, we propose Switchable Whitening (SW), which provides a general form unifying different whitening methods as well as standardization methods. SW learns to switch among these operations in an end-to-end manner. It has several advantages. First, SW adaptively selects appropriate whitening or standardization statistics for different tasks (see Fig.1), making it well suited for a wide range of tasks without manual design. Second, by integrating benefits of different normalizers, SW shows consistent improvements over its counterparts in various challenging benchmarks. Third, SW serves as a useful tool for understanding the characteristics of whitening and standardization techniques. We show that SW outperforms other alternatives on image classification (CIFAR-10/100, ImageNet), semantic segmentation (ADE20K, Cityscapes), domain adaptation (GTA5, Cityscapes), and image style transfer (COCO). For example, without bells and whistles, we achieve state-of-the-art performance with 45.33% mIoU on the ADE20K dataset. Code and models will be released.

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Recently, the convolutional neural network has brought impressive improvements for object detection. However, detecting tiny objects in large-scale remote sensing images still remains challenging. First, the extreme large input size makes the existing object detection solutions too slow for practical use. Second, the massive and complex backgrounds cause serious false alarms. Moreover, the ultratiny objects increase the difficulty of accurate detection. To tackle these problems, we propose a unified and self-reinforced network called remote sensing region-based convolutional neural network ($\mathcal{R}^2$-CNN), composing of backbone Tiny-Net, intermediate global attention block, and final classifier and detector. Tiny-Net is a lightweight residual structure, which enables fast and powerful features extraction from inputs. Global attention block is built upon Tiny-Net to inhibit false positives. Classifier is then used to predict the existence of targets in each patch, and detector is followed to locate them accurately if available. The classifier and detector are mutually reinforced with end-to-end training, which further speed up the process and avoid false alarms. Effectiveness of $\mathcal{R}^2$-CNN is validated on hundreds of GF-1 images and GF-2 images that are 18 000 $\times$ 18 192 pixels, 2.0-m resolution, and 27 620 $\times$ 29 200 pixels, 0.8-m resolution, respectively. Specifically, we can process a GF-1 image in 29.4 s on Titian X just with single thread. According to our knowledge, no previous solution can detect the tiny object on such huge remote sensing images gracefully. We believe that it is a significant step toward practical real-time remote sensing systems.

* 13 pages. Accepted to IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
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Recently, convolutional neural network has brought impressive improvements for object detection. However, detecting tiny objects in large-scale remote sensing images still remains challenging. Firstly, the extreme large input size makes existing object detection solutions too slow for practical use. Secondly, the massive and complex backgrounds cause serious false alarms. Moreover, the ultra tiny objects increase the difficulty of accurate detection. To tackle these problems, we propose a unified and self-reinforced network called $\mathcal{R}^2$-CNN: Remote sensing Region-based Convolutional Neural Network, composing of backbone Tiny-Net, intermediate global attention block, and final classifier and detector. Tiny-Net is a lightweight residual structure which enables fast and powerful features extraction from inputs. Global attention block is built upon Tiny-Net to inhibit false positives. Classifier is then used to predict the existence of target in each patch, and detector is followed to locate them accurately if available. The classifier and detector are mutually reinforced with end-to-end training, which further speed-up the process and avoid false alarms. Effectiveness of $\mathcal{R}^2$-CNN is validated on hundreds of \emph{GF-1} images and \emph{GF-2} images, which are $18000 \times 18192$ pixels, 2.0m resolution, and $27620 \times 29200$ pixels, 0.8m resolution respectively. Specifically, we can process a GF-1 image in 29.4s on Titian X just with single thread. According to our knowledge, no previous solution can detect tiny object on such huge remote sensing images gracefully. We believe that it is a significant step towards practical real-time remote sensing systems.

* 13 pages. Accepted to IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
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The basic principles in designing convolutional neural network (CNN) structures for predicting objects on different levels, e.g., image-level, region-level, and pixel-level are diverging. Generally, network structures designed specifically for image classification are directly used as default backbone structure for other tasks including detection and segmentation, but there is seldom backbone structure designed under the consideration of unifying the advantages of networks designed for pixel-level or region-level predicting tasks, which may require very deep features with high resolution. Towards this goal, we design a fish-like network, called FishNet. In FishNet, the information of all resolutions is preserved and refined for the final task. Besides, we observe that existing works still cannot \emph{directly} propagate the gradient information from deep layers to shallow layers. Our design can better handle this problem. Extensive experiments have been conducted to demonstrate the remarkable performance of the FishNet. In particular, on ImageNet-1k, the accuracy of FishNet is able to surpass the performance of DenseNet and ResNet with fewer parameters. FishNet was applied as one of the modules in the winning entry of the COCO Detection 2018 challenge. The code is available at https://github.com/kevin-ssy/FishNet.

* NeurIPS 2018. Code available at https://github.com/kevin-ssy/FishNet
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Asynchronous momentum stochastic gradient descent algorithms (Async-MSGD) is one of the most popular algorithms in distributed machine learning. However, its convergence properties for these complicated nonconvex problems is still largely unknown, because of the current technical limit. Therefore, in this paper, we propose to analyze the algorithm through a simpler but nontrivial nonconvex problem - streaming PCA, which helps us to understand Aync-MSGD better even for more general problems. Specifically, we establish the asymptotic rate of convergence of Async-MSGD for streaming PCA by diffusion approximation. Our results indicate a fundamental tradeoff between asynchrony and momentum: To ensure convergence and acceleration through asynchrony, we have to reduce the momentum (compared with Sync-MSGD). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first theoretical attempt on understanding Async-MSGD for distributed nonconvex stochastic optimization. Numerical experiments on both streaming PCA and training deep neural networks are provided to support our findings for Async-MSGD.

* arXiv admin note: text overlap with arXiv:1802.05155
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The way that information propagates in neural networks is of great importance. In this paper, we propose Path Aggregation Network (PANet) aiming at boosting information flow in proposal-based instance segmentation framework. Specifically, we enhance the entire feature hierarchy with accurate localization signals in lower layers by bottom-up path augmentation, which shortens the information path between lower layers and topmost feature. We present adaptive feature pooling, which links feature grid and all feature levels to make useful information in each feature level propagate directly to following proposal subnetworks. A complementary branch capturing different views for each proposal is created to further improve mask prediction. These improvements are simple to implement, with subtle extra computational overhead. Our PANet reaches the 1st place in the COCO 2017 Challenge Instance Segmentation task and the 2nd place in Object Detection task without large-batch training. It is also state-of-the-art on MVD and Cityscapes. Code is available at https://github.com/ShuLiu1993/PANet

* Accepted to CVPR 2018
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Due to the expensive and time-consuming annotations (e.g., segmentation) for real-world images, recent works in computer vision resort to synthetic data. However, the performance on the real image often drops significantly because of the domain shift between the synthetic data and the real images. In this setting, domain adaptation brings an appealing option. The effective approaches of domain adaptation shape the representations that (1) are discriminative for the main task and (2) have good generalization capability for domain shift. To this end, we propose a novel loss function, i.e., Conservative Loss, which penalizes the extreme good and bad cases while encouraging the moderate examples. More specifically, it enables the network to learn features that are discriminative by gradient descent and are invariant to the change of domains via gradient ascend method. Extensive experiments on synthetic to real segmentation adaptation show our proposed method achieves state of the art results. Ablation studies give more insights into properties of the Conservative Loss. Exploratory experiments and discussion demonstrate that our Conservative Loss has good flexibility rather than restricting an exact form.

* ECCV 2018
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We focus on the challenging task of real-time semantic segmentation in this paper. It finds many practical applications and yet is with fundamental difficulty of reducing a large portion of computation for pixel-wise label inference. We propose an image cascade network (ICNet) that incorporates multi-resolution branches under proper label guidance to address this challenge. We provide in-depth analysis of our framework and introduce the cascade feature fusion unit to quickly achieve high-quality segmentation. Our system yields real-time inference on a single GPU card with decent quality results evaluated on challenging datasets like Cityscapes, CamVid and COCO-Stuff.

* ECCV 2018
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Environment perception is an important task with great practical value and bird view is an essential part for creating panoramas of surrounding environment. Due to the large gap and severe deformation between the frontal view and bird view, generating a bird view image from a single frontal view is challenging. To tackle this problem, we propose the BridgeGAN, i.e., a novel generative model for bird view synthesis. First, an intermediate view, i.e., homography view, is introduced to bridge the large gap. Next, conditioned on the three views (frontal view, homography view and bird view) in our task, a multi-GAN based model is proposed to learn the challenging cross-view translation. Extensive experiments conducted on a synthetic dataset have demonstrated that the images generated by our model are much better than those generated by existing methods, with more consistent global appearance and sharper details. Ablation studies and discussions show its reliability and robustness in some challenging cases.

* Accepted to 3DV 2018
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Disparity estimation for binocular stereo images finds a wide range of applications. Traditional algorithms may fail on featureless regions, which could be handled by high-level clues such as semantic segments. In this paper, we suggest that appropriate incorporation of semantic cues can greatly rectify prediction in commonly-used disparity estimation frameworks. Our method conducts semantic feature embedding and regularizes semantic cues as the loss term to improve learning disparity. Our unified model SegStereo employs semantic features from segmentation and introduces semantic softmax loss, which helps improve the prediction accuracy of disparity maps. The semantic cues work well in both unsupervised and supervised manners. SegStereo achieves state-of-the-art results on KITTI Stereo benchmark and produces decent prediction on both CityScapes and FlyingThings3D datasets.

* Accepted to ECCV 2018
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Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) are usually built by stacking convolutional operations layer-by-layer. Although CNN has shown strong capability to extract semantics from raw pixels, its capacity to capture spatial relationships of pixels across rows and columns of an image is not fully explored. These relationships are important to learn semantic objects with strong shape priors but weak appearance coherences, such as traffic lanes, which are often occluded or not even painted on the road surface as shown in Fig. 1 (a). In this paper, we propose Spatial CNN (SCNN), which generalizes traditional deep layer-by-layer convolutions to slice-byslice convolutions within feature maps, thus enabling message passings between pixels across rows and columns in a layer. Such SCNN is particular suitable for long continuous shape structure or large objects, with strong spatial relationship but less appearance clues, such as traffic lanes, poles, and wall. We apply SCNN on a newly released very challenging traffic lane detection dataset and Cityscapse dataset. The results show that SCNN could learn the spatial relationship for structure output and significantly improves the performance. We show that SCNN outperforms the recurrent neural network (RNN) based ReNet and MRF+CNN (MRFNet) in the lane detection dataset by 8.7% and 4.6% respectively. Moreover, our SCNN won the 1st place on the TuSimple Benchmark Lane Detection Challenge, with an accuracy of 96.53%.

* To appear in AAAI 2018
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