Research papers and code for "Pavlo Molchanov":
In this paper, we address the challenging problem of efficient temporal activity detection in untrimmed long videos. While most recent work has focused and advanced the detection accuracy, the inference time can take seconds to minutes in processing each single video, which is too slow to be useful in real-world settings. This motivates the proposed budget-aware framework, which learns to perform activity detection by intelligently selecting a small subset of frames according to a specified time budget. We formulate this problem as a Markov decision process, and adopt a recurrent network to model the frame selection policy. We derive a recurrent policy gradient based approach to approximate the gradient of the non-decomposable and non-differentiable objective defined in our problem. In the extensive experiments, we achieve competitive detection accuracy, and more importantly, our approach is able to substantially reduce computation time and detect multiple activities with only 0.35s for each untrimmed long video.

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Structural pruning of neural network parameters reduces computation, energy, and memory transfer costs during inference. We propose a novel method that estimates the contribution of a neuron (filter) to the final loss and iteratively removes those with smaller scores. We describe two variations of our method using the first and second-order Taylor expansions to approximate a filter's contribution. Both methods scale consistently across any network layer without requiring per-layer sensitivity analysis and can be applied to any kind of layer, including skip connections. For modern networks trained on ImageNet, we measured experimentally a high (>93%) correlation between the contribution computed by our methods and a reliable estimate of the true importance. Pruning with the proposed methods leads to an improvement over state-of-the-art in terms of accuracy, FLOPs, and parameter reduction. On ResNet-101, we achieve a 40% FLOPS reduction by removing 30% of the parameters, with a loss of 0.02% in the top-1 accuracy on ImageNet. Code is available at https://github.com/NVlabs/Taylor_pruning.

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Estimating the 3D pose of a hand is an essential part of human-computer interaction. Estimating 3D pose using depth or multi-view sensors has become easier with recent advances in computer vision, however, regressing pose from a single RGB image is much less straightforward. The main difficulty arises from the fact that 3D pose requires some form of depth estimates, which are ambiguous given only an RGB image. In this paper we propose a new method for 3D hand pose estimation from a monocular image through a novel 2.5D pose representation. Our new representation estimates pose up to a scaling factor, which can be estimated additionally if a prior of the hand size is given. We implicitly learn depth maps and heatmap distributions with a novel CNN architecture. Our system achieves the state-of-the-art estimation of 2D and 3D hand pose on several challenging datasets in presence of severe occlusions.

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We propose a new formulation for pruning convolutional kernels in neural networks to enable efficient inference. We interleave greedy criteria-based pruning with fine-tuning by backpropagation - a computationally efficient procedure that maintains good generalization in the pruned network. We propose a new criterion based on Taylor expansion that approximates the change in the cost function induced by pruning network parameters. We focus on transfer learning, where large pretrained networks are adapted to specialized tasks. The proposed criterion demonstrates superior performance compared to other criteria, e.g. the norm of kernel weights or feature map activation, for pruning large CNNs after adaptation to fine-grained classification tasks (Birds-200 and Flowers-102) relaying only on the first order gradient information. We also show that pruning can lead to more than 10x theoretical (5x practical) reduction in adapted 3D-convolutional filters with a small drop in accuracy in a recurrent gesture classifier. Finally, we show results for the large-scale ImageNet dataset to emphasize the flexibility of our approach.

* 17 pages, 14 figures, ICLR 2017 paper
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We present two techniques to improve landmark localization in images from partially annotated datasets. Our primary goal is to leverage the common situation where precise landmark locations are only provided for a small data subset, but where class labels for classification or regression tasks related to the landmarks are more abundantly available. First, we propose the framework of sequential multitasking and explore it here through an architecture for landmark localization where training with class labels acts as an auxiliary signal to guide the landmark localization on unlabeled data. A key aspect of our approach is that errors can be backpropagated through a complete landmark localization model. Second, we propose and explore an unsupervised learning technique for landmark localization based on having a model predict equivariant landmarks with respect to transformations applied to the image. We show that these techniques, improve landmark prediction considerably and can learn effective detectors even when only a small fraction of the dataset has landmark labels. We present results on two toy datasets and four real datasets, with hands and faces, and report new state-of-the-art on two datasets in the wild, e.g. with only 5\% of labeled images we outperform previous state-of-the-art trained on the AFLW dataset.

* Published as a conference paper in CVPR 2018
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Deep residual networks (ResNets) made a recent breakthrough in deep learning. The core idea of ResNets is to have shortcut connections between layers that allow the network to be much deeper while still being easy to optimize avoiding vanishing gradients. These shortcut connections have interesting side-effects that make ResNets behave differently from other typical network architectures. In this work we use these properties to design a network based on a ResNet but with parameter sharing and with adaptive computation time. The resulting network is much smaller than the original network and can adapt the computational cost to the complexity of the input image.

* ICLR 2018 Workshop track
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Estimating surface reflectance (BRDF) is one key component for complete 3D scene capture, with wide applications in virtual reality, augmented reality, and human computer interaction. Prior work is either limited to controlled environments (\eg gonioreflectometers, light stages, or multi-camera domes), or requires the joint optimization of shape, illumination, and reflectance, which is often computationally too expensive (\eg hours of running time) for real-time applications. Moreover, most prior work requires HDR images as input which further complicates the capture process. In this paper, we propose a lightweight approach for surface reflectance estimation directly from $8$-bit RGB images in real-time, which can be easily plugged into any 3D scanning-and-fusion system with a commodity RGBD sensor. Our method is learning-based, with an inference time of less than 90ms per scene and a model size of less than 340K bytes. We propose two novel network architectures, HemiCNN and Grouplet, to deal with the unstructured input data from multiple viewpoints under unknown illumination. We further design a loss function to resolve the color-constancy and scale ambiguity. In addition, we have created a large synthetic dataset, SynBRDF, which comprises a total of $500$K RGBD images rendered with a physically-based ray tracer under a variety of natural illumination, covering $5000$ materials and $5000$ shapes. SynBRDF is the first large-scale benchmark dataset for reflectance estimation. Experiments on both synthetic data and real data show that the proposed method effectively recovers surface reflectance, and outperforms prior work for reflectance estimation in uncontrolled environments.

* ICCV 2017
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Inter-personal anatomical differences limit the accuracy of person-independent gaze estimation networks. Yet there is a need to lower gaze errors further to enable applications requiring higher quality. Further gains can be achieved by personalizing gaze networks, ideally with few calibration samples. However, over-parameterized neural networks are not amenable to learning from few examples as they can quickly over-fit. We embrace these challenges and propose a novel framework for Few-shot Adaptive GaZE Estimation (FAZE) for learning person-specific gaze networks with very few (less than 9) calibration samples. FAZE learns a rotation-aware latent representation of gaze via a disentangling encoder-decoder architecture along with a highly adaptable gaze estimator trained using meta-learning. It is capable of adapting to any new person to yield significant performance gains with as few as 3 samples, yielding state-of-the-art performance of 3.18-deg on GazeCapture, a 19% improvement over prior art.

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Parts provide a good intermediate representation of objects that is robust with respect to the camera, pose and appearance variations. Existing works on part segmentation is dominated by supervised approaches that rely on large amounts of manual annotations and can not generalize to unseen object categories. We propose a self-supervised deep learning approach for part segmentation, where we devise several loss functions that aids in predicting part segments that are geometrically concentrated, robust to object variations and are also semantically consistent across different object instances. Extensive experiments on different types of image collections demonstrate that our approach can produce part segments that adhere to object boundaries and also more semantically consistent across object instances compared to existing self-supervised techniques.

* Accepted in CVPR 2019. Project page: http://varunjampani.github.io/scops
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In many cases, especially with medical images, it is prohibitively challenging to produce a sufficiently large training sample of pixel-level annotations to train deep neural networks for semantic image segmentation. On the other hand, some information is often known about the contents of images. We leverage information on whether an image presents the segmentation target or whether it is absent from the image to improve segmentation performance by augmenting the amount of data usable for model training. Specifically, we propose a semi-supervised framework that employs image-to-image translation between weak labels (e.g., presence vs. absence of cancer), in addition to fully supervised segmentation on some examples. We conjecture that this translation objective is well aligned with the segmentation objective as both require the same disentangling of image variations. Building on prior image-to-image translation work, we re-use the encoder and decoders for translating in either direction between two domains, employing a strategy of selectively decoding domain-specific variations. For presence vs. absence domains, the encoder produces variations that are common to both and those unique to the presence domain. Furthermore, we successfully re-use one of the decoders used in translation for segmentation. We validate the proposed method on synthetic tasks of varying difficulty as well as on the real task of brain tumor segmentation in magnetic resonance images, where we show significant improvements over standard semi-supervised training with autoencoding.

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In this paper, we strive to answer two questions: What is the current state of 3D hand pose estimation from depth images? And, what are the next challenges that need to be tackled? Following the successful Hands In the Million Challenge (HIM2017), we investigate the top 10 state-of-the-art methods on three tasks: single frame 3D pose estimation, 3D hand tracking, and hand pose estimation during object interaction. We analyze the performance of different CNN structures with regard to hand shape, joint visibility, view point and articulation distributions. Our findings include: (1) isolated 3D hand pose estimation achieves low mean errors (10 mm) in the view point range of [70, 120] degrees, but it is far from being solved for extreme view points; (2) 3D volumetric representations outperform 2D CNNs, better capturing the spatial structure of the depth data; (3) Discriminative methods still generalize poorly to unseen hand shapes; (4) While joint occlusions pose a challenge for most methods, explicit modeling of structure constraints can significantly narrow the gap between errors on visible and occluded joints.

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