Research papers and code for "Piotr Dollár":
We report competitive results on object detection and instance segmentation on the COCO dataset using standard models trained from random initialization. The results are no worse than their ImageNet pre-training counterparts even when using the hyper-parameters of the baseline system (Mask R-CNN) that were optimized for fine-tuning pre-trained models, with the sole exception of increasing the number of training iterations so the randomly initialized models may converge. Training from random initialization is surprisingly robust; our results hold even when: (i) using only 10% of the training data, (ii) for deeper and wider models, and (iii) for multiple tasks and metrics. Experiments show that ImageNet pre-training speeds up convergence early in training, but does not necessarily provide regularization or improve final target task accuracy. To push the envelope we demonstrate 50.9 AP on COCO object detection without using any external data---a result on par with the top COCO 2017 competition results that used ImageNet pre-training. These observations challenge the conventional wisdom of ImageNet pre-training for dependent tasks and we expect these discoveries will encourage people to rethink the current de facto paradigm of `pre-training and fine-tuning' in computer vision.

* Technical report
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Edge detection is a critical component of many vision systems, including object detectors and image segmentation algorithms. Patches of edges exhibit well-known forms of local structure, such as straight lines or T-junctions. In this paper we take advantage of the structure present in local image patches to learn both an accurate and computationally efficient edge detector. We formulate the problem of predicting local edge masks in a structured learning framework applied to random decision forests. Our novel approach to learning decision trees robustly maps the structured labels to a discrete space on which standard information gain measures may be evaluated. The result is an approach that obtains realtime performance that is orders of magnitude faster than many competing state-of-the-art approaches, while also achieving state-of-the-art edge detection results on the BSDS500 Segmentation dataset and NYU Depth dataset. Finally, we show the potential of our approach as a general purpose edge detector by showing our learned edge models generalize well across datasets.

* update corresponding to acceptance to PAMI
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Progress on object detection is enabled by datasets that focus the research community's attention on open challenges. This process led us from simple images to complex scenes and from bounding boxes to segmentation masks. In this work, we introduce LVIS (pronounced `el-vis'): a new dataset for Large Vocabulary Instance Segmentation. We plan to collect ~2 million high-quality instance segmentation masks for over 1000 entry-level object categories in 164k images. Due to the Zipfian distribution of categories in natural images, LVIS naturally has a long tail of categories with few training samples. Given that state-of-the-art deep learning methods for object detection perform poorly in the low-sample regime, we believe that our dataset poses an important and exciting new scientific challenge. LVIS is available at http://www.lvisdataset.org.

* Extension of the CVPR'19 paper describing release v0.5 and the LVIS Challenge
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Designing effective and efficient classifier for pattern analysis is a key problem in machine learning and computer vision. Many the solutions to the problem require to perform logic operations such as `and', `or', and `not'. Classification and regression tree (CART) include these operations explicitly. Other methods such as neural networks, SVM, and boosting learn/compute a weighted sum on features (weak classifiers), which weakly perform the 'and' and 'or' operations. However, it is hard for these classifiers to deal with the 'xor' pattern directly. In this paper, we propose layered logic classifiers for patterns of complicated distributions by combining the `and', `or', and `not' operations. The proposed algorithm is very general and easy to implement. We test the classifiers on several typical datasets from the Irvine repository and two challenging vision applications, object segmentation and pedestrian detection. We observe significant improvements on all the datasets over the widely used decision stump based AdaBoost algorithm. The resulting classifiers have much less training complexity than decision tree based AdaBoost, and can be applied in a wide range of domains.

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Sliding-window object detectors that generate bounding-box object predictions over a dense, regular grid have advanced rapidly and proven popular. In contrast, modern instance segmentation approaches are dominated by methods that first detect object bounding boxes, and then crop and segment these regions, as popularized by Mask R-CNN. In this work, we investigate the paradigm of dense sliding-window instance segmentation, which is surprisingly under-explored. Our core observation is that this task is fundamentally different than other dense prediction tasks such as semantic segmentation or bounding-box object detection, as the output at every spatial location is itself a geometric structure with its own spatial dimensions. To formalize this, we treat dense instance segmentation as a prediction task over 4D tensors and present a general framework called TensorMask that explicitly captures this geometry and enables novel operators on 4D tensors. We demonstrate that the tensor view leads to large gains over baselines that ignore this structure, and leads to results comparable to Mask R-CNN. These promising results suggest that TensorMask can serve as a foundation for novel advances in dense mask prediction and a more complete understanding of the task. Code will be made available.

* 12 pages, technical report
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The recently introduced panoptic segmentation task has renewed our community's interest in unifying the tasks of instance segmentation (for thing classes) and semantic segmentation (for stuff classes). However, current state-of-the-art methods for this joint task use separate and dissimilar networks for instance and semantic segmentation, without performing any shared computation. In this work, we aim to unify these methods at the architectural level, designing a single network for both tasks. Our approach is to endow Mask R-CNN, a popular instance segmentation method, with a semantic segmentation branch using a shared Feature Pyramid Network (FPN) backbone. Surprisingly, this simple baseline not only remains effective for instance segmentation, but also yields a lightweight, top-performing method for semantic segmentation. In this work, we perform a detailed study of this minimally extended version of Mask R-CNN with FPN, which we refer to as Panoptic FPN, and show it is a robust and accurate baseline for both tasks. Given its effectiveness and conceptual simplicity, we hope our method can serve as a strong baseline and aid future research in panoptic segmentation.

* tech report
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To understand the visual world, a machine must not only recognize individual object instances but also how they interact. Humans are often at the center of such interactions and detecting human-object interactions is an important practical and scientific problem. In this paper, we address the task of detecting <human, verb, object> triplets in challenging everyday photos. We propose a novel model that is driven by a human-centric approach. Our hypothesis is that the appearance of a person -- their pose, clothing, action -- is a powerful cue for localizing the objects they are interacting with. To exploit this cue, our model learns to predict an action-specific density over target object locations based on the appearance of a detected person. Our model also jointly learns to detect people and objects, and by fusing these predictions it efficiently infers interaction triplets in a clean, jointly trained end-to-end system we call InteractNet. We validate our approach on the recently introduced Verbs in COCO (V-COCO) and HICO-DET datasets, where we show quantitatively compelling results.

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We present a conceptually simple, flexible, and general framework for object instance segmentation. Our approach efficiently detects objects in an image while simultaneously generating a high-quality segmentation mask for each instance. The method, called Mask R-CNN, extends Faster R-CNN by adding a branch for predicting an object mask in parallel with the existing branch for bounding box recognition. Mask R-CNN is simple to train and adds only a small overhead to Faster R-CNN, running at 5 fps. Moreover, Mask R-CNN is easy to generalize to other tasks, e.g., allowing us to estimate human poses in the same framework. We show top results in all three tracks of the COCO suite of challenges, including instance segmentation, bounding-box object detection, and person keypoint detection. Without bells and whistles, Mask R-CNN outperforms all existing, single-model entries on every task, including the COCO 2016 challenge winners. We hope our simple and effective approach will serve as a solid baseline and help ease future research in instance-level recognition. Code has been made available at: https://github.com/facebookresearch/Detectron

* open source; appendix on more results
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Recent object detection systems rely on two critical steps: (1) a set of object proposals is predicted as efficiently as possible, and (2) this set of candidate proposals is then passed to an object classifier. Such approaches have been shown they can be fast, while achieving the state of the art in detection performance. In this paper, we propose a new way to generate object proposals, introducing an approach based on a discriminative convolutional network. Our model is trained jointly with two objectives: given an image patch, the first part of the system outputs a class-agnostic segmentation mask, while the second part of the system outputs the likelihood of the patch being centered on a full object. At test time, the model is efficiently applied on the whole test image and generates a set of segmentation masks, each of them being assigned with a corresponding object likelihood score. We show that our model yields significant improvements over state-of-the-art object proposal algorithms. In particular, compared to previous approaches, our model obtains substantially higher object recall using fewer proposals. We also show that our model is able to generalize to unseen categories it has not seen during training. Unlike all previous approaches for generating object masks, we do not rely on edges, superpixels, or any other form of low-level segmentation.

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Even with the advent of more sophisticated, data-hungry methods, boosted decision trees remain extraordinarily successful for fast rigid object detection, achieving top accuracy on numerous datasets. While effective, most boosted detectors use decision trees with orthogonal (single feature) splits, and the topology of the resulting decision boundary may not be well matched to the natural topology of the data. Given highly correlated data, decision trees with oblique (multiple feature) splits can be effective. Use of oblique splits, however, comes at considerable computational expense. Inspired by recent work on discriminative decorrelation of HOG features, we instead propose an efficient feature transform that removes correlations in local neighborhoods. The result is an overcomplete but locally decorrelated representation ideally suited for use with orthogonal decision trees. In fact, orthogonal trees with our locally decorrelated features outperform oblique trees trained over the original features at a fraction of the computational cost. The overall improvement in accuracy is dramatic: on the Caltech Pedestrian Dataset, we reduce false positives nearly tenfold over the previous state-of-the-art.

* To appear in Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), 2014
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Common visual recognition tasks such as classification, object detection, and semantic segmentation are rapidly reaching maturity, and given the recent rate of progress, it is not unreasonable to conjecture that techniques for many of these problems will approach human levels of performance in the next few years. In this paper we look to the future: what is the next frontier in visual recognition? We offer one possible answer to this question. We propose a detailed image annotation that captures information beyond the visible pixels and requires complex reasoning about full scene structure. Specifically, we create an amodal segmentation of each image: the full extent of each region is marked, not just the visible pixels. Annotators outline and name all salient regions in the image and specify a partial depth order. The result is a rich scene structure, including visible and occluded portions of each region, figure-ground edge information, semantic labels, and object overlap. We create two datasets for semantic amodal segmentation. First, we label 500 images in the BSDS dataset with multiple annotators per image, allowing us to study the statistics of human annotations. We show that the proposed full scene annotation is surprisingly consistent between annotators, including for regions and edges. Second, we annotate 5000 images from COCO. This larger dataset allows us to explore a number of algorithmic ideas for amodal segmentation and depth ordering. We introduce novel metrics for these tasks, and along with our strong baselines, define concrete new challenges for the community.

* major update including new COCO data, metrics, and baselines
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Distance metric learning (DML) approaches learn a transformation to a representation space where distance is in correspondence with a predefined notion of similarity. While such models offer a number of compelling benefits, it has been difficult for these to compete with modern classification algorithms in performance and even in feature extraction. In this work, we propose a novel approach explicitly designed to address a number of subtle yet important issues which have stymied earlier DML algorithms. It maintains an explicit model of the distributions of the different classes in representation space. It then employs this knowledge to adaptively assess similarity, and achieve local discrimination by penalizing class distribution overlap. We demonstrate the effectiveness of this idea on several tasks. Our approach achieves state-of-the-art classification results on a number of fine-grained visual recognition datasets, surpassing the standard softmax classifier and outperforming triplet loss by a relative margin of 30-40%. In terms of computational performance, it alleviates training inefficiencies in the traditional triplet loss, reaching the same error in 5-30 times fewer iterations. Beyond classification, we further validate the saliency of the learnt representations via their attribute concentration and hierarchy recovery properties, achieving 10-25% relative gains on the softmax classifier and 25-50% on triplet loss in these tasks.

* ICLR 2016
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Current top performing object detectors employ detection proposals to guide the search for objects, thereby avoiding exhaustive sliding window search across images. Despite the popularity and widespread use of detection proposals, it is unclear which trade-offs are made when using them during object detection. We provide an in-depth analysis of twelve proposal methods along with four baselines regarding proposal repeatability, ground truth annotation recall on PASCAL, ImageNet, and MS COCO, and their impact on DPM, R-CNN, and Fast R-CNN detection performance. Our analysis shows that for object detection improving proposal localisation accuracy is as important as improving recall. We introduce a novel metric, the average recall (AR), which rewards both high recall and good localisation and correlates surprisingly well with detection performance. Our findings show common strengths and weaknesses of existing methods, and provide insights and metrics for selecting and tuning proposal methods.

* TPAMI final version, duplicate proposals removed in experiments
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We propose and study a novel panoptic segmentation (PS) task. Panoptic segmentation unifies the typically distinct tasks of semantic segmentation (assign a class label to each pixel) and instance segmentation (detect and segment each object instance). The proposed task requires generating a coherent scene segmentation that is rich and complete, an important step toward real-world vision systems. While early work in computer vision addressed related image/scene parsing tasks, these are not currently popular, possibly due to lack of appropriate metrics or associated recognition challenges. To address this, we first propose a novel panoptic quality (PQ) metric that captures performance for all classes (stuff and things) in an interpretable and unified manner. Using the proposed metric, we perform a rigorous study of both human and machine performance for PS on three existing datasets, revealing interesting insights about the task. Second, we are working to introduce panoptic segmentation tracks at upcoming recognition challenges. The aim of our work is to revive the interest of the community in a more unified view of image segmentation.

* update of related work and metric details
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Most methods for object instance segmentation require all training examples to be labeled with segmentation masks. This requirement makes it expensive to annotate new categories and has restricted instance segmentation models to ~100 well-annotated classes. The goal of this paper is to propose a new partially supervised training paradigm, together with a novel weight transfer function, that enables training instance segmentation models on a large set of categories all of which have box annotations, but only a small fraction of which have mask annotations. These contributions allow us to train Mask R-CNN to detect and segment 3000 visual concepts using box annotations from the Visual Genome dataset and mask annotations from the 80 classes in the COCO dataset. We evaluate our approach in a controlled study on the COCO dataset. This work is a first step towards instance segmentation models that have broad comprehension of the visual world.

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We investigate omni-supervised learning, a special regime of semi-supervised learning in which the learner exploits all available labeled data plus internet-scale sources of unlabeled data. Omni-supervised learning is lower-bounded by performance on existing labeled datasets, offering the potential to surpass state-of-the-art fully supervised methods. To exploit the omni-supervised setting, we propose data distillation, a method that ensembles predictions from multiple transformations of unlabeled data, using a single model, to automatically generate new training annotations. We argue that visual recognition models have recently become accurate enough that it is now possible to apply classic ideas about self-training to challenging real-world data. Our experimental results show that in the cases of human keypoint detection and general object detection, state-of-the-art models trained with data distillation surpass the performance of using labeled data from the COCO dataset alone.

* tech report
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We present a simple, highly modularized network architecture for image classification. Our network is constructed by repeating a building block that aggregates a set of transformations with the same topology. Our simple design results in a homogeneous, multi-branch architecture that has only a few hyper-parameters to set. This strategy exposes a new dimension, which we call "cardinality" (the size of the set of transformations), as an essential factor in addition to the dimensions of depth and width. On the ImageNet-1K dataset, we empirically show that even under the restricted condition of maintaining complexity, increasing cardinality is able to improve classification accuracy. Moreover, increasing cardinality is more effective than going deeper or wider when we increase the capacity. Our models, named ResNeXt, are the foundations of our entry to the ILSVRC 2016 classification task in which we secured 2nd place. We further investigate ResNeXt on an ImageNet-5K set and the COCO detection set, also showing better results than its ResNet counterpart. The code and models are publicly available online.

* Accepted to CVPR 2017. Code and models: https://github.com/facebookresearch/ResNeXt
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Data-driven approaches for edge detection have proven effective and achieve top results on modern benchmarks. However, all current data-driven edge detectors require manual supervision for training in the form of hand-labeled region segments or object boundaries. Specifically, human annotators mark semantically meaningful edges which are subsequently used for training. Is this form of strong, high-level supervision actually necessary to learn to accurately detect edges? In this work we present a simple yet effective approach for training edge detectors without human supervision. To this end we utilize motion, and more specifically, the only input to our method is noisy semi-dense matches between frames. We begin with only a rudimentary knowledge of edges (in the form of image gradients), and alternate between improving motion estimation and edge detection in turn. Using a large corpus of video data, we show that edge detectors trained using our unsupervised scheme approach the performance of the same methods trained with full supervision (within 3-5%). Finally, we show that when using a deep network for the edge detector, our approach provides a novel pre-training scheme for object detection.

* Camera ready version for CVPR 2016
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The highest accuracy object detectors to date are based on a two-stage approach popularized by R-CNN, where a classifier is applied to a sparse set of candidate object locations. In contrast, one-stage detectors that are applied over a regular, dense sampling of possible object locations have the potential to be faster and simpler, but have trailed the accuracy of two-stage detectors thus far. In this paper, we investigate why this is the case. We discover that the extreme foreground-background class imbalance encountered during training of dense detectors is the central cause. We propose to address this class imbalance by reshaping the standard cross entropy loss such that it down-weights the loss assigned to well-classified examples. Our novel Focal Loss focuses training on a sparse set of hard examples and prevents the vast number of easy negatives from overwhelming the detector during training. To evaluate the effectiveness of our loss, we design and train a simple dense detector we call RetinaNet. Our results show that when trained with the focal loss, RetinaNet is able to match the speed of previous one-stage detectors while surpassing the accuracy of all existing state-of-the-art two-stage detectors. Code is at: https://github.com/facebookresearch/Detectron.

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This paper presents a novel yet intuitive approach to unsupervised feature learning. Inspired by the human visual system, we explore whether low-level motion-based grouping cues can be used to learn an effective visual representation. Specifically, we use unsupervised motion-based segmentation on videos to obtain segments, which we use as 'pseudo ground truth' to train a convolutional network to segment objects from a single frame. Given the extensive evidence that motion plays a key role in the development of the human visual system, we hope that this straightforward approach to unsupervised learning will be more effective than cleverly designed 'pretext' tasks studied in the literature. Indeed, our extensive experiments show that this is the case. When used for transfer learning on object detection, our representation significantly outperforms previous unsupervised approaches across multiple settings, especially when training data for the target task is scarce.

* CVPR 2017
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