Research papers and code for "Tao Xiang":
Most existing video summarisation methods are based on either supervised or unsupervised learning. In this paper, we propose a reinforcement learning-based weakly supervised method that exploits easy-to-obtain, video-level category labels and encourages summaries to contain category-related information and maintain category recognisability. Specifically, We formulate video summarisation as a sequential decision-making process and train a summarisation network with deep Q-learning (DQSN). A companion classification network is also trained to provide rewards for training the DQSN. With the classification network, we develop a global recognisability reward based on the classification result. Critically, a novel dense ranking-based reward is also proposed in order to cope with the temporally delayed and sparse reward problems for long sequence reinforcement learning. Extensive experiments on two benchmark datasets show that the proposed approach achieves state-of-the-art performance.

* In Proc. of BMVC 2018
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Video summarization aims to facilitate large-scale video browsing by producing short, concise summaries that are diverse and representative of original videos. In this paper, we formulate video summarization as a sequential decision-making process and develop a deep summarization network (DSN) to summarize videos. DSN predicts for each video frame a probability, which indicates how likely a frame is selected, and then takes actions based on the probability distributions to select frames, forming video summaries. To train our DSN, we propose an end-to-end, reinforcement learning-based framework, where we design a novel reward function that jointly accounts for diversity and representativeness of generated summaries and does not rely on labels or user interactions at all. During training, the reward function judges how diverse and representative the generated summaries are, while DSN strives for earning higher rewards by learning to produce more diverse and more representative summaries. Since labels are not required, our method can be fully unsupervised. Extensive experiments on two benchmark datasets show that our unsupervised method not only outperforms other state-of-the-art unsupervised methods, but also is comparable to or even superior than most of published supervised approaches.

* AAAI 2018
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Most existing approaches to training object detectors rely on fully supervised learning, which requires the tedious manual annotation of object location in a training set. Recently there has been an increasing interest in developing weakly supervised approach to detector training where the object location is not manually annotated but automatically determined based on binary (weak) labels indicating if a training image contains the object. This is a challenging problem because each image can contain many candidate object locations which partially overlaps the object of interest. Existing approaches focus on how to best utilise the binary labels for object location annotation. In this paper we propose to solve this problem from a very different perspective by casting it as a transfer learning problem. Specifically, we formulate a novel transfer learning based on learning to rank, which effectively transfers a model for automatic annotation of object location from an auxiliary dataset to a target dataset with completely unrelated object categories. We show that our approach outperforms existing state-of-the-art weakly supervised approach to annotating objects in the challenging VOC dataset.

* BMVC 2012
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Existing zero-shot learning (ZSL) models typically learn a projection function from a feature space to a semantic embedding space (e.g.~attribute space). However, such a projection function is only concerned with predicting the training seen class semantic representation (e.g.~attribute prediction) or classification. When applied to test data, which in the context of ZSL contains different (unseen) classes without training data, a ZSL model typically suffers from the project domain shift problem. In this work, we present a novel solution to ZSL based on learning a Semantic AutoEncoder (SAE). Taking the encoder-decoder paradigm, an encoder aims to project a visual feature vector into the semantic space as in the existing ZSL models. However, the decoder exerts an additional constraint, that is, the projection/code must be able to reconstruct the original visual feature. We show that with this additional reconstruction constraint, the learned projection function from the seen classes is able to generalise better to the new unseen classes. Importantly, the encoder and decoder are linear and symmetric which enable us to develop an extremely efficient learning algorithm. Extensive experiments on six benchmark datasets demonstrate that the proposed SAE outperforms significantly the existing ZSL models with the additional benefit of lower computational cost. Furthermore, when the SAE is applied to supervised clustering problem, it also beats the state-of-the-art.

* accepted to CVPR2017
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Zero-shot learning (ZSL) models rely on learning a joint embedding space where both textual/semantic description of object classes and visual representation of object images can be projected to for nearest neighbour search. Despite the success of deep neural networks that learn an end-to-end model between text and images in other vision problems such as image captioning, very few deep ZSL model exists and they show little advantage over ZSL models that utilise deep feature representations but do not learn an end-to-end embedding. In this paper we argue that the key to make deep ZSL models succeed is to choose the right embedding space. Instead of embedding into a semantic space or an intermediate space, we propose to use the visual space as the embedding space. This is because that in this space, the subsequent nearest neighbour search would suffer much less from the hubness problem and thus become more effective. This model design also provides a natural mechanism for multiple semantic modalities (e.g., attributes and sentence descriptions) to be fused and optimised jointly in an end-to-end manner. Extensive experiments on four benchmarks show that our model significantly outperforms the existing models.

* To appear in CVPR 2017
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Existing person re-identification models are poor for scaling up to large data required in real-world applications due to: (1) Complexity: They employ complex models for optimal performance resulting in high computational cost for training at a large scale; (2) Inadaptability: Once trained, they are unsuitable for incremental update to incorporate any new data available. This work proposes a truly scalable solution to re-id by addressing both problems. Specifically, a Highly Efficient Regression (HER) model is formulated by embedding the Fisher's criterion to a ridge regression model for very fast re-id model learning with scalable memory/storage usage. Importantly, this new HER model supports faster than real-time incremental model updates therefore making real-time active learning feasible in re-id with human-in-the-loop. Extensive experiments show that such a simple and fast model not only outperforms notably the state-of-the-art re-id methods, but also is more scalable to large data with additional benefits to active learning for reducing human labelling effort in re-id deployment.

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Most existing person re-identification (re-id) methods focus on learning the optimal distance metrics across camera views. Typically a person's appearance is represented using features of thousands of dimensions, whilst only hundreds of training samples are available due to the difficulties in collecting matched training images. With the number of training samples much smaller than the feature dimension, the existing methods thus face the classic small sample size (SSS) problem and have to resort to dimensionality reduction techniques and/or matrix regularisation, which lead to loss of discriminative power. In this work, we propose to overcome the SSS problem in re-id distance metric learning by matching people in a discriminative null space of the training data. In this null space, images of the same person are collapsed into a single point thus minimising the within-class scatter to the extreme and maximising the relative between-class separation simultaneously. Importantly, it has a fixed dimension, a closed-form solution and is very efficient to compute. Extensive experiments carried out on five person re-identification benchmarks including VIPeR, PRID2011, CUHK01, CUHK03 and Market1501 show that such a simple approach beats the state-of-the-art alternatives, often by a big margin.

* accepted by CVPR2016
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Key to effective person re-identification (Re-ID) is modelling discriminative and view-invariant factors of person appearance at both high and low semantic levels. Recently developed deep Re-ID models either learn a holistic single semantic level feature representation and/or require laborious human annotation of these factors as attributes. We propose Multi-Level Factorisation Net (MLFN), a novel network architecture that factorises the visual appearance of a person into latent discriminative factors at multiple semantic levels without manual annotation. MLFN is composed of multiple stacked blocks. Each block contains multiple factor modules to model latent factors at a specific level, and factor selection modules that dynamically select the factor modules to interpret the content of each input image. The outputs of the factor selection modules also provide a compact latent factor descriptor that is complementary to the conventional deeply learned features. MLFN achieves state-of-the-art results on three Re-ID datasets, as well as compelling results on the general object categorisation CIFAR-100 dataset.

* To Appear at CVPR2018
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Recently the widely used multi-view learning model, Canonical Correlation Analysis (CCA) has been generalised to the non-linear setting via deep neural networks. Existing deep CCA models typically first decorrelate the feature dimensions of each view before the different views are maximally correlated in a common latent space. This feature decorrelation is achieved by enforcing an exact decorrelation constraint; these models are thus computationally expensive due to the matrix inversion or SVD operations required for exact decorrelation at each training iteration. Furthermore, the decorrelation step is often separated from the gradient descent based optimisation, resulting in sub-optimal solutions. We propose a novel deep CCA model Soft CCA to overcome these problems. Specifically, exact decorrelation is replaced by soft decorrelation via a mini-batch based Stochastic Decorrelation Loss (SDL) to be optimised jointly with the other training objectives. Extensive experiments show that the proposed soft CCA is more effective and efficient than existing deep CCA models. In addition, our SDL loss can be applied to other deep models beyond multi-view learning, and obtains superior performance compared to existing decorrelation losses.

* To Appear at CVPR2018
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We address the problem of localisation of objects as bounding boxes in images and videos with weak labels. This weakly supervised object localisation problem has been tackled in the past using discriminative models where each object class is localised independently from other classes. In this paper, a novel framework based on Bayesian joint topic modelling is proposed, which differs significantly from the existing ones in that: (1) All foreground object classes are modelled jointly in a single generative model that encodes multiple object co-existence so that "explaining away" inference can resolve ambiguity and lead to better learning and localisation. (2) Image backgrounds are shared across classes to better learn varying surroundings and "push out" objects of interest. (3) Our model can be learned with a mixture of weakly labelled and unlabelled data, allowing the large volume of unlabelled images on the Internet to be exploited for learning. Moreover, the Bayesian formulation enables the exploitation of various types of prior knowledge to compensate for the limited supervision offered by weakly labelled data, as well as Bayesian domain adaptation for transfer learning. Extensive experiments on the PASCAL VOC, ImageNet and YouTube-Object videos datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of our Bayesian joint model for weakly supervised object localisation.

* Accepted in IEEE Transaction on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence
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Learning semantic attributes for person re-identification and description-based person search has gained increasing interest due to attributes' great potential as a pose and view-invariant representation. However, existing attribute-centric approaches have thus far underperformed state-of-the-art conventional approaches. This is due to their non-scalable need for extensive domain (camera) specific annotation. In this paper we present a new semantic attribute learning approach for person re-identification and search. Our model is trained on existing fashion photography datasets -- either weakly or strongly labelled. It can then be transferred and adapted to provide a powerful semantic description of surveillance person detections, without requiring any surveillance domain supervision. The resulting representation is useful for both unsupervised and supervised person re-identification, achieving state-of-the-art and near state-of-the-art performance respectively. Furthermore, as a semantic representation it allows description-based person search to be integrated within the same framework.

* cvpr 2015
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We address the problem of localisation of objects as bounding boxes in images with weak labels. This weakly supervised object localisation problem has been tackled in the past using discriminative models where each object class is localised independently from other classes. We propose a novel framework based on Bayesian joint topic modelling. Our framework has three distinctive advantages over previous works: (1) All object classes and image backgrounds are modelled jointly together in a single generative model so that "explaining away" inference can resolve ambiguity and lead to better learning and localisation. (2) The Bayesian formulation of the model enables easy integration of prior knowledge about object appearance to compensate for limited supervision. (3) Our model can be learned with a mixture of weakly labelled and unlabelled data, allowing the large volume of unlabelled images on the Internet to be exploited for learning. Extensive experiments on the challenging VOC dataset demonstrate that our approach outperforms the state-of-the-art competitors.

* iccv 2013
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Zero-shot learning aims to classify visual objects without any training data via knowledge transfer between seen and unseen classes. This is typically achieved by exploring a semantic embedding space where the seen and unseen classes can be related. Previous works differ in what embedding space is used and how different classes and a test image can be related. In this paper, we utilize the annotation-free semantic word space for the former and focus on solving the latter issue of modeling relatedness. Specifically, in contrast to previous work which ignores the semantic relationships between seen classes and focus merely on those between seen and unseen classes, in this paper a novel approach based on a semantic graph is proposed to represent the relationships between all the seen and unseen class in a semantic word space. Based on this semantic graph, we design a special absorbing Markov chain process, in which each unseen class is viewed as an absorbing state. After incorporating one test image into the semantic graph, the absorbing probabilities from the test data to each unseen class can be effectively computed; and zero-shot classification can be achieved by finding the class label with the highest absorbing probability. The proposed model has a closed-form solution which is linear with respect to the number of test images. We demonstrate the effectiveness and computational efficiency of the proposed method over the state-of-the-arts on the AwA (animals with attributes) dataset.

* 9 pages, 5 figures
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In this paper, we study the generalization performance of regularized multi-task learning (RMTL) in a vector-valued framework, where MTL is considered as a learning process for vector-valued functions. We are mainly concerned with two theoretical questions: 1) under what conditions does RMTL perform better with a smaller task sample size than STL? 2) under what conditions is RMTL generalizable and can guarantee the consistency of each task during simultaneous learning? In particular, we investigate two types of task-group relatedness: the observed discrepancy-dependence measure (ODDM) and the empirical discrepancy-dependence measure (EDDM), both of which detect the dependence between two groups of multiple related tasks (MRTs). We then introduce the Cartesian product-based uniform entropy number (CPUEN) to measure the complexities of vector-valued function classes. By applying the specific deviation and the symmetrization inequalities to the vector-valued framework, we obtain the generalization bound for RMTL, which is the upper bound of the joint probability of the event that there is at least one task with a large empirical discrepancy between the expected and empirical risks. Finally, we present a sufficient condition to guarantee the consistency of each task in the simultaneous learning process, and we discuss how task relatedness affects the generalization performance of RMTL. Our theoretical findings answer the aforementioned two questions.

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As an instance-level recognition problem, person re-identification (ReID) relies on discriminative features, which not only capture different spatial scales but also encapsulate an arbitrary combination of multiple scales. We call these features of both homogeneous and heterogeneous scales omni-scale features. In this paper, a novel deep CNN is designed, termed Omni-Scale Network (OSNet), for omni-scale feature learning in ReID. This is achieved by designing a residual block composed of multiple convolutional feature streams, each detecting features at a certain scale. Importantly, a novel unified aggregation gate is introduced to dynamically fuse multi-scale features with input-dependent channel-wise weights. To efficiently learn spatial-channel correlations and avoid overfitting, the building block uses both pointwise and depthwise convolutions. By stacking such blocks layer-by-layer, our OSNet is extremely lightweight and can be trained from scratch on existing ReID benchmarks. Despite its small model size, our OSNet achieves state-of-the-art performance on six person-ReID datasets.

* Tech report
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Matrix product states (MPS), a tensor network designed for one-dimensional quantum systems, has been recently proposed for generative modeling of natural data (such as images) in terms of `Born machine'. However, the exponential decay of correlation in MPS restricts its representation power heavily for modeling complex data such as natural images. In this work, we push forward the effort of applying tensor networks to machine learning by employing the Tree Tensor Network (TTN) which exhibits balanced performance in expressibility and efficient training and sampling. We design the tree tensor network to utilize the 2-dimensional prior of the natural images and develop sweeping learning and sampling algorithms which can be efficiently implemented utilizing Graphical Processing Units (GPU). We apply our model to random binary patterns and the binary MNIST datasets of handwritten digits. We show that TTN is superior to MPS for generative modeling in keeping correlation of pixels in natural images, as well as giving better log-likelihood scores in standard datasets of handwritten digits. We also compare its performance with state-of-the-art generative models such as the Variational AutoEncoders, Restricted Boltzmann machines, and PixelCNN. Finally, we discuss the future development of Tensor Network States in machine learning problems.

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Most existing person re-identification (re-id) methods are unsuitable for real-world deployment due to two reasons: Unscalability to large population size, and Inadaptability over time. In this work, we present a unified solution to address both problems. Specifically, we propose to construct an Identity Regression Space (IRS) based on embedding different training person identities (classes) and formulate re-id as a regression problem solved by identity regression in the IRS. The IRS approach is characterised by a closed-form solution with high learning efficiency and an inherent incremental learning capability with human-in-the-loop. Extensive experiments on four benchmarking datasets(VIPeR, CUHK01, CUHK03 and Market-1501) show that the IRS model not only outperforms state-of-the-art re-id methods, but also is more scalable to large re-id population size by rapidly updating model and actively selecting informative samples with reduced human labelling effort.

* accepted by International Journal of Computer Vision (IJCV)
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Current person re-identification (re-id) methods assume that (1) pre-labelled training data are available for every camera pair, (2) the gallery size for re-identification is moderate. Both assumptions scale poorly to real-world applications when camera network size increases and gallery size becomes large. Human verification of automatic model ranked re-id results becomes inevitable. In this work, a novel human-in-the-loop re-id model based on Human Verification Incremental Learning (HVIL) is formulated which does not require any pre-labelled training data to learn a model, therefore readily scalable to new camera pairs. This HVIL model learns cumulatively from human feedback to provide instant improvement to re-id ranking of each probe on-the-fly enabling the model scalable to large gallery sizes. We further formulate a Regularised Metric Ensemble Learning (RMEL) model to combine a series of incrementally learned HVIL models into a single ensemble model to be used when human feedback becomes unavailable.

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Person re-identification (Re-ID) poses a unique challenge to deep learning: how to learn a deep model with millions of parameters on a small training set of few or no labels. In this paper, a number of deep transfer learning models are proposed to address the data sparsity problem. First, a deep network architecture is designed which differs from existing deep Re-ID models in that (a) it is more suitable for transferring representations learned from large image classification datasets, and (b) classification loss and verification loss are combined, each of which adopts a different dropout strategy. Second, a two-stepped fine-tuning strategy is developed to transfer knowledge from auxiliary datasets. Third, given an unlabelled Re-ID dataset, a novel unsupervised deep transfer learning model is developed based on co-training. The proposed models outperform the state-of-the-art deep Re-ID models by large margins: we achieve Rank-1 accuracy of 85.4\%, 83.7\% and 56.3\% on CUHK03, Market1501, and VIPeR respectively, whilst on VIPeR, our unsupervised model (45.1\%) beats most supervised models.

* 12 pages, 2 figures
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In this paper, a unified approach is presented to transfer learning that addresses several source and target domain label-space and annotation assumptions with a single model. It is particularly effective in handling a challenging case, where source and target label-spaces are disjoint, and outperforms alternatives in both unsupervised and semi-supervised settings. The key ingredient is a common representation termed Common Factorised Space. It is shared between source and target domains, and trained with an unsupervised factorisation loss and a graph-based loss. With a wide range of experiments, we demonstrate the flexibility, relevance and efficacy of our method, both in the challenging cases with disjoint label spaces, and in the more conventional cases such as unsupervised domain adaptation, where the source and target domains share the same label-sets.

* AAAI-19
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