Research papers and code for "Karen Simonyan":
In this work we investigate the effect of the convolutional network depth on its accuracy in the large-scale image recognition setting. Our main contribution is a thorough evaluation of networks of increasing depth using an architecture with very small (3x3) convolution filters, which shows that a significant improvement on the prior-art configurations can be achieved by pushing the depth to 16-19 weight layers. These findings were the basis of our ImageNet Challenge 2014 submission, where our team secured the first and the second places in the localisation and classification tracks respectively. We also show that our representations generalise well to other datasets, where they achieve state-of-the-art results. We have made our two best-performing ConvNet models publicly available to facilitate further research on the use of deep visual representations in computer vision.

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We investigate architectures of discriminatively trained deep Convolutional Networks (ConvNets) for action recognition in video. The challenge is to capture the complementary information on appearance from still frames and motion between frames. We also aim to generalise the best performing hand-crafted features within a data-driven learning framework. Our contribution is three-fold. First, we propose a two-stream ConvNet architecture which incorporates spatial and temporal networks. Second, we demonstrate that a ConvNet trained on multi-frame dense optical flow is able to achieve very good performance in spite of limited training data. Finally, we show that multi-task learning, applied to two different action classification datasets, can be used to increase the amount of training data and improve the performance on both. Our architecture is trained and evaluated on the standard video actions benchmarks of UCF-101 and HMDB-51, where it is competitive with the state of the art. It also exceeds by a large margin previous attempts to use deep nets for video classification.

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Despite recent progress in generative image modeling, successfully generating high-resolution, diverse samples from complex datasets such as ImageNet remains an elusive goal. To this end, we train Generative Adversarial Networks at the largest scale yet attempted, and study the instabilities specific to such scale. We find that applying orthogonal regularization to the generator renders it amenable to a simple "truncation trick", allowing fine control over the trade-off between sample fidelity and variety by truncating the latent space. Our modifications lead to models which set the new state of the art in class-conditional image synthesis. When trained on ImageNet at 128x128 resolution, our models (BigGANs) achieve an Inception Score (IS) of 166.3 and Frechet Inception Distance (FID) of 9.6, improving over the previous best IS of 52.52 and FID of 18.65.

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This paper addresses the scalability challenge of architecture search by formulating the task in a differentiable manner. Unlike conventional approaches of applying evolution or reinforcement learning over a discrete and non-differentiable search space, our method is based on the continuous relaxation of the architecture representation, allowing efficient search of the architecture using gradient descent. Extensive experiments on CIFAR-10, ImageNet, Penn Treebank and WikiText-2 show that our algorithm excels in discovering high-performance convolutional architectures for image classification and recurrent architectures for language modeling, while being orders of magnitude faster than state-of-the-art non-differentiable techniques.

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We investigate the gains in precision and speed, that can be obtained by using Convolutional Networks (ConvNets) for on-the-fly retrieval - where classifiers are learnt at run time for a textual query from downloaded images, and used to rank large image or video datasets. We make three contributions: (i) we present an evaluation of state-of-the-art image representations for object category retrieval over standard benchmark datasets containing 1M+ images; (ii) we show that ConvNets can be used to obtain features which are incredibly performant, and yet much lower dimensional than previous state-of-the-art image representations, and that their dimensionality can be reduced further without loss in performance by compression using product quantization or binarization. Consequently, features with the state-of-the-art performance on large-scale datasets of millions of images can fit in the memory of even a commodity GPU card; (iii) we show that an SVM classifier can be learnt within a ConvNet framework on a GPU in parallel with downloading the new training images, allowing for a continuous refinement of the model as more images become available, and simultaneous training and ranking. The outcome is an on-the-fly system that significantly outperforms its predecessors in terms of: precision of retrieval, memory requirements, and speed, facilitating accurate on-the-fly learning and ranking in under a second on a single GPU.

* Published in proceedings of ACCV 2014
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This paper addresses the visualisation of image classification models, learnt using deep Convolutional Networks (ConvNets). We consider two visualisation techniques, based on computing the gradient of the class score with respect to the input image. The first one generates an image, which maximises the class score [Erhan et al., 2009], thus visualising the notion of the class, captured by a ConvNet. The second technique computes a class saliency map, specific to a given image and class. We show that such maps can be employed for weakly supervised object segmentation using classification ConvNets. Finally, we establish the connection between the gradient-based ConvNet visualisation methods and deconvolutional networks [Zeiler et al., 2013].

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Autoregressive generative models of images tend to be biased towards capturing local structure, and as a result they often produce samples which are lacking in terms of large-scale coherence. To address this, we propose two methods to learn discrete representations of images which abstract away local detail. We show that autoregressive models conditioned on these representations can produce high-fidelity reconstructions of images, and that we can train autoregressive priors on these representations that produce samples with large-scale coherence. We can recursively apply the learning procedure, yielding a hierarchy of progressively more abstract image representations. We train hierarchical class-conditional autoregressive models on the ImageNet dataset and demonstrate that they are able to generate realistic images at resolutions of 128$\times$128 and 256$\times$256 pixels.

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Realistic music generation is a challenging task. When building generative models of music that are learnt from data, typically high-level representations such as scores or MIDI are used that abstract away the idiosyncrasies of a particular performance. But these nuances are very important for our perception of musicality and realism, so in this work we embark on modelling music in the raw audio domain. It has been shown that autoregressive models excel at generating raw audio waveforms of speech, but when applied to music, we find them biased towards capturing local signal structure at the expense of modelling long-range correlations. This is problematic because music exhibits structure at many different timescales. In this work, we explore autoregressive discrete autoencoders (ADAs) as a means to enable autoregressive models to capture long-range correlations in waveforms. We find that they allow us to unconditionally generate piano music directly in the raw audio domain, which shows stylistic consistency across tens of seconds.

* 13 pages, 2 figures, submitted to NIPS 2018
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Convolutional Neural Networks define an exceptionally powerful class of models, but are still limited by the lack of ability to be spatially invariant to the input data in a computationally and parameter efficient manner. In this work we introduce a new learnable module, the Spatial Transformer, which explicitly allows the spatial manipulation of data within the network. This differentiable module can be inserted into existing convolutional architectures, giving neural networks the ability to actively spatially transform feature maps, conditional on the feature map itself, without any extra training supervision or modification to the optimisation process. We show that the use of spatial transformers results in models which learn invariance to translation, scale, rotation and more generic warping, resulting in state-of-the-art performance on several benchmarks, and for a number of classes of transformations.

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We introduce Natural Neural Networks, a novel family of algorithms that speed up convergence by adapting their internal representation during training to improve conditioning of the Fisher matrix. In particular, we show a specific example that employs a simple and efficient reparametrization of the neural network weights by implicitly whitening the representation obtained at each layer, while preserving the feed-forward computation of the network. Such networks can be trained efficiently via the proposed Projected Natural Gradient Descent algorithm (PRONG), which amortizes the cost of these reparametrizations over many parameter updates and is closely related to the Mirror Descent online learning algorithm. We highlight the benefits of our method on both unsupervised and supervised learning tasks, and showcase its scalability by training on the large-scale ImageNet Challenge dataset.

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We develop a representation suitable for the unconstrained recognition of words in natural images: the general case of no fixed lexicon and unknown length. To this end we propose a convolutional neural network (CNN) based architecture which incorporates a Conditional Random Field (CRF) graphical model, taking the whole word image as a single input. The unaries of the CRF are provided by a CNN that predicts characters at each position of the output, while higher order terms are provided by another CNN that detects the presence of N-grams. We show that this entire model (CRF, character predictor, N-gram predictor) can be jointly optimised by back-propagating the structured output loss, essentially requiring the system to perform multi-task learning, and training uses purely synthetically generated data. The resulting model is a more accurate system on standard real-world text recognition benchmarks than character prediction alone, setting a benchmark for systems that have not been trained on a particular lexicon. In addition, our model achieves state-of-the-art accuracy in lexicon-constrained scenarios, without being specifically modelled for constrained recognition. To test the generalisation of our model, we also perform experiments with random alpha-numeric strings to evaluate the method when no visual language model is applicable.

* arXiv admin note: text overlap with arXiv:1406.2227
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In this work we present a framework for the recognition of natural scene text. Our framework does not require any human-labelled data, and performs word recognition on the whole image holistically, departing from the character based recognition systems of the past. The deep neural network models at the centre of this framework are trained solely on data produced by a synthetic text generation engine -- synthetic data that is highly realistic and sufficient to replace real data, giving us infinite amounts of training data. This excess of data exposes new possibilities for word recognition models, and here we consider three models, each one "reading" words in a different way: via 90k-way dictionary encoding, character sequence encoding, and bag-of-N-grams encoding. In the scenarios of language based and completely unconstrained text recognition we greatly improve upon state-of-the-art performance on standard datasets, using our fast, simple machinery and requiring zero data-acquisition costs.

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In this work we present an end-to-end system for text spotting -- localising and recognising text in natural scene images -- and text based image retrieval. This system is based on a region proposal mechanism for detection and deep convolutional neural networks for recognition. Our pipeline uses a novel combination of complementary proposal generation techniques to ensure high recall, and a fast subsequent filtering stage for improving precision. For the recognition and ranking of proposals, we train very large convolutional neural networks to perform word recognition on the whole proposal region at the same time, departing from the character classifier based systems of the past. These networks are trained solely on data produced by a synthetic text generation engine, requiring no human labelled data. Analysing the stages of our pipeline, we show state-of-the-art performance throughout. We perform rigorous experiments across a number of standard end-to-end text spotting benchmarks and text-based image retrieval datasets, showing a large improvement over all previous methods. Finally, we demonstrate a real-world application of our text spotting system to allow thousands of hours of news footage to be instantly searchable via a text query.

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The latest generation of Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN) have achieved impressive results in challenging benchmarks on image recognition and object detection, significantly raising the interest of the community in these methods. Nevertheless, it is still unclear how different CNN methods compare with each other and with previous state-of-the-art shallow representations such as the Bag-of-Visual-Words and the Improved Fisher Vector. This paper conducts a rigorous evaluation of these new techniques, exploring different deep architectures and comparing them on a common ground, identifying and disclosing important implementation details. We identify several useful properties of CNN-based representations, including the fact that the dimensionality of the CNN output layer can be reduced significantly without having an adverse effect on performance. We also identify aspects of deep and shallow methods that can be successfully shared. In particular, we show that the data augmentation techniques commonly applied to CNN-based methods can also be applied to shallow methods, and result in an analogous performance boost. Source code and models to reproduce the experiments in the paper is made publicly available.

* Published in proceedings of BMVC 2014
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Music generation has generally been focused on either creating scores or interpreting them. We discuss differences between these two problems and propose that, in fact, it may be valuable to work in the space of direct $\it performance$ generation: jointly predicting the notes $\it and$ $\it also$ their expressive timing and dynamics. We consider the significance and qualities of the data set needed for this. Having identified both a problem domain and characteristics of an appropriate data set, we show an LSTM-based recurrent network model that subjectively performs quite well on this task. Critically, we provide generated examples. We also include feedback from professional composers and musicians about some of these examples.

* Includes links to urls for audio samples
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We explore efficient neural architecture search methods and show that a simple yet powerful evolutionary algorithm can discover new architectures with excellent performance. Our approach combines a novel hierarchical genetic representation scheme that imitates the modularized design pattern commonly adopted by human experts, and an expressive search space that supports complex topologies. Our algorithm efficiently discovers architectures that outperform a large number of manually designed models for image classification, obtaining top-1 error of 3.6% on CIFAR-10 and 20.3% when transferred to ImageNet, which is competitive with the best existing neural architecture search approaches. We also present results using random search, achieving 0.3% less top-1 accuracy on CIFAR-10 and 0.1% less on ImageNet whilst reducing the search time from 36 hours down to 1 hour.

* Accepted as a conference paper at ICLR 2018
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Generative models in vision have seen rapid progress due to algorithmic improvements and the availability of high-quality image datasets. In this paper, we offer contributions in both these areas to enable similar progress in audio modeling. First, we detail a powerful new WaveNet-style autoencoder model that conditions an autoregressive decoder on temporal codes learned from the raw audio waveform. Second, we introduce NSynth, a large-scale and high-quality dataset of musical notes that is an order of magnitude larger than comparable public datasets. Using NSynth, we demonstrate improved qualitative and quantitative performance of the WaveNet autoencoder over a well-tuned spectral autoencoder baseline. Finally, we show that the model learns a manifold of embeddings that allows for morphing between instruments, meaningfully interpolating in timbre to create new types of sounds that are realistic and expressive.

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We present a novel neural network for processing sequences. The ByteNet is a one-dimensional convolutional neural network that is composed of two parts, one to encode the source sequence and the other to decode the target sequence. The two network parts are connected by stacking the decoder on top of the encoder and preserving the temporal resolution of the sequences. To address the differing lengths of the source and the target, we introduce an efficient mechanism by which the decoder is dynamically unfolded over the representation of the encoder. The ByteNet uses dilation in the convolutional layers to increase its receptive field. The resulting network has two core properties: it runs in time that is linear in the length of the sequences and it sidesteps the need for excessive memorization. The ByteNet decoder attains state-of-the-art performance on character-level language modelling and outperforms the previous best results obtained with recurrent networks. The ByteNet also achieves state-of-the-art performance on character-to-character machine translation on the English-to-German WMT translation task, surpassing comparable neural translation models that are based on recurrent networks with attentional pooling and run in quadratic time. We find that the latent alignment structure contained in the representations reflects the expected alignment between the tokens.

* 9 pages
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Planning problems are among the most important and well-studied problems in artificial intelligence. They are most typically solved by tree search algorithms that simulate ahead into the future, evaluate future states, and back-up those evaluations to the root of a search tree. Among these algorithms, Monte-Carlo tree search (MCTS) is one of the most general, powerful and widely used. A typical implementation of MCTS uses cleverly designed rules, optimized to the particular characteristics of the domain. These rules control where the simulation traverses, what to evaluate in the states that are reached, and how to back-up those evaluations. In this paper we instead learn where, what and how to search. Our architecture, which we call an MCTSnet, incorporates simulation-based search inside a neural network, by expanding, evaluating and backing-up a vector embedding. The parameters of the network are trained end-to-end using gradient-based optimisation. When applied to small searches in the well known planning problem Sokoban, the learned search algorithm significantly outperformed MCTS baselines.

* ICML 2018 (camera-ready version)
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We propose a probabilistic video model, the Video Pixel Network (VPN), that estimates the discrete joint distribution of the raw pixel values in a video. The model and the neural architecture reflect the time, space and color structure of video tensors and encode it as a four-dimensional dependency chain. The VPN approaches the best possible performance on the Moving MNIST benchmark, a leap over the previous state of the art, and the generated videos show only minor deviations from the ground truth. The VPN also produces detailed samples on the action-conditional Robotic Pushing benchmark and generalizes to the motion of novel objects.

* 16 pages
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