Research papers and code for "Yuting Ye":
Hand pose estimation from the monocular 2D image is challenging due to the variation in lighting, appearance, and background. While some success has been achieved using deep neural networks, they typically require collecting a large dataset that adequately samples all the axes of variation of hand images. It would, therefore, be useful to find a representation of hand pose which is independent of the image appearance~(like hand texture, lighting, background), so that we can synthesize unseen images by mixing pose-appearance combinations. In this paper, we present a novel technique that disentangles the representation of pose from a complementary appearance factor in 2D monochrome images. We supervise this disentanglement process using a network that learns to generate images of hand using specified pose+appearance features. Unlike previous work, we do not require image pairs with a matching pose; instead, we use the pose annotations already available and introduce a novel use of cycle consistency to ensure orthogonality between the factors. Experimental results show that our self-disentanglement scheme successfully decomposes the hand image into the pose and its complementary appearance features of comparable quality as the method using paired data. Additionally, training the model with extra synthesized images with unseen hand-appearance combinations by re-mixing pose and appearance factors from different images can improve the 2D pose estimation performance.

* 10 pages, 6 figures
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Over the past few years, Spiking Neural Networks (SNNs) have become popular as a possible pathway to enable low-power event-driven neuromorphic hardware. However, their application in machine learning have largely been limited to very shallow neural network architectures for simple problems. In this paper, we propose a novel algorithmic technique for generating an SNN with a deep architecture, and demonstrate its effectiveness on complex visual recognition problems such as CIFAR-10 and ImageNet. Our technique applies to both VGG and Residual network architectures, with significantly better accuracy than the state-of-the-art. Finally, we present analysis of the sparse event-driven computations to demonstrate reduced hardware overhead when operating in the spiking domain.

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Most existing knowledge graphs (KGs) in academic domains suffer from problems of insufficient multi-relational information, name ambiguity and improper data format for large-scale machine processing. In this paper, we present AceKG, a new large-scale KG in academic domain. AceKG not only provides clean academic information, but also offers a large-scale benchmark dataset for researchers to conduct challenging data mining projects including link prediction, community detection and scholar classification. Specifically, AceKG describes 3.13 billion triples of academic facts based on a consistent ontology, including necessary properties of papers, authors, fields of study, venues and institutes, as well as the relations among them. To enrich the proposed knowledge graph, we also perform entity alignment with existing databases and rule-based inference. Based on AceKG, we conduct experiments of three typical academic data mining tasks and evaluate several state-of- the-art knowledge embedding and network representation learning approaches on the benchmark datasets built from AceKG. Finally, we discuss several promising research directions that benefit from AceKG.

* CIKM 2018
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In this article we propose a novel ranking algorithm, referred to as HierLPR, for the multi-label classification problem when the candidate labels follow a known hierarchical structure. HierLPR is motivated by a new metric called eAUC that we design to assess the ranking of classification decisions. This metric, associated with the hit curve and local precision rate, emphasizes the accuracy of the first calls. We show that HierLPR optimizes eAUC under the tree constraint and some light assumptions on the dependency between the nodes in the hierarchy. We also provide a strategy to make calls for each node based on the ordering produced by HierLPR, with the intent of controlling FDR or maximizing F-score. The performance of our proposed methods is demonstrated on synthetic datasets as well as a real example of disease diagnosis using NCBI GEO datasets. In these cases, HierLPR shows a favorable result over competing methods in the early part of the precision-recall curve.

* 27 pages, 9 figures
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This paper studies the problem of blind face restoration from an unconstrained blurry, noisy, low-resolution, or compressed image (i.e., degraded observation). For better recovery of fine facial details, we modify the problem setting by taking both the degraded observation and a high-quality guided image of the same identity as input to our guided face restoration network (GFRNet). However, the degraded observation and guided image generally are different in pose, illumination and expression, thereby making plain CNNs (e.g., U-Net) fail to recover fine and identity-aware facial details. To tackle this issue, our GFRNet model includes both a warping subnetwork (WarpNet) and a reconstruction subnetwork (RecNet). The WarpNet is introduced to predict flow field for warping the guided image to correct pose and expression (i.e., warped guidance), while the RecNet takes the degraded observation and warped guidance as input to produce the restoration result. Due to that the ground-truth flow field is unavailable, landmark loss together with total variation regularization are incorporated to guide the learning of WarpNet. Furthermore, to make the model applicable to blind restoration, our GFRNet is trained on the synthetic data with versatile settings on blur kernel, noise level, downsampling scale factor, and JPEG quality factor. Experiments show that our GFRNet not only performs favorably against the state-of-the-art image and face restoration methods, but also generates visually photo-realistic results on real degraded facial images.

* 25 pages, 14 figures and 1 table
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Unsupervised learning and supervised learning are key research topics in deep learning. However, as high-capacity supervised neural networks trained with a large amount of labels have achieved remarkable success in many computer vision tasks, the availability of large-scale labeled images reduced the significance of unsupervised learning. Inspired by the recent trend toward revisiting the importance of unsupervised learning, we investigate joint supervised and unsupervised learning in a large-scale setting by augmenting existing neural networks with decoding pathways for reconstruction. First, we demonstrate that the intermediate activations of pretrained large-scale classification networks preserve almost all the information of input images except a portion of local spatial details. Then, by end-to-end training of the entire augmented architecture with the reconstructive objective, we show improvement of the network performance for supervised tasks. We evaluate several variants of autoencoders, including the recently proposed "what-where" autoencoder that uses the encoder pooling switches, to study the importance of the architecture design. Taking the 16-layer VGGNet trained under the ImageNet ILSVRC 2012 protocol as a strong baseline for image classification, our methods improve the validation-set accuracy by a noticeable margin.

* PMLR 48:612-621, 2016
* International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML), 2016
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In this paper, we propose training very deep neural networks (DNNs) for supervised learning of hash codes. Existing methods in this context train relatively "shallow" networks limited by the issues arising in back propagation (e.e. vanishing gradients) as well as computational efficiency. We propose a novel and efficient training algorithm inspired by alternating direction method of multipliers (ADMM) that overcomes some of these limitations. Our method decomposes the training process into independent layer-wise local updates through auxiliary variables. Empirically we observe that our training algorithm always converges and its computational complexity is linearly proportional to the number of edges in the networks. Empirically we manage to train DNNs with 64 hidden layers and 1024 nodes per layer for supervised hashing in about 3 hours using a single GPU. Our proposed very deep supervised hashing (VDSH) method significantly outperforms the state-of-the-art on several benchmark datasets.

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We present a deep learning framework for real-time speech-driven 3D facial animation from just raw waveforms. Our deep neural network directly maps an input sequence of speech audio to a series of micro facial action unit activations and head rotations to drive a 3D blendshape face model. In particular, our deep model is able to learn the latent representations of time-varying contextual information and affective states within the speech. Hence, our model not only activates appropriate facial action units at inference to depict different utterance generating actions, in the form of lip movements, but also, without any assumption, automatically estimates emotional intensity of the speaker and reproduces her ever-changing affective states by adjusting strength of facial unit activations. For example, in a happy speech, the mouth opens wider than normal, while other facial units are relaxed; or in a surprised state, both eyebrows raise higher. Experiments on a diverse audiovisual corpus of different actors across a wide range of emotional states show interesting and promising results of our approach. Being speaker-independent, our generalized model is readily applicable to various tasks in human-machine interaction and animation.

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Previous VoIP steganalysis methods face great challenges in detecting speech signals at low embedding rates, and they are also generally difficult to perform real-time detection, making them hard to truly maintain cyberspace security. To solve these two challenges, in this paper, combined with the sliding window detection algorithm and Convolution Neural Network we propose a real-time VoIP steganalysis method which based on multi-channel convolution sliding windows. In order to analyze the correlations between frames and different neighborhood frames in a VoIP signal, we define multi channel sliding detection windows. Within each sliding window, we design two feature extraction channels which contain multiple convolution layers with multiple convolution kernels each layer to extract correlation features of the input signal. Then based on these extracted features, we use a forward fully connected network for feature fusion. Finally, by analyzing the statistical distribution of these features, the discriminator will determine whether the input speech signal contains covert information or not.We designed several experiments to test the proposed model's detection ability under various conditions, including different embedding rates, different speech length, etc. Experimental results showed that the proposed model outperforms all the previous methods, especially in the case of low embedding rate, which showed state-of-the-art performance. In addition, we also tested the detection efficiency of the proposed model, and the results showed that it can achieve almost real-time detection of VoIP speech signals.

* 13 pages, summit to ieee transactions on information forensics and security (tifs)
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Object detection systems based on the deep convolutional neural network (CNN) have recently made ground- breaking advances on several object detection benchmarks. While the features learned by these high-capacity neural networks are discriminative for categorization, inaccurate localization is still a major source of error for detection. Building upon high-capacity CNN architectures, we address the localization problem by 1) using a search algorithm based on Bayesian optimization that sequentially proposes candidate regions for an object bounding box, and 2) training the CNN with a structured loss that explicitly penalizes the localization inaccuracy. In experiments, we demonstrated that each of the proposed methods improves the detection performance over the baseline method on PASCAL VOC 2007 and 2012 datasets. Furthermore, two methods are complementary and significantly outperform the previous state-of-the-art when combined.

* CVPR 2015
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Meta-learning has been shown to be an effective strategy for few-shot learning. The key idea is to leverage a large number of similar few-shot tasks in order to meta-learn how to best initiate a (single) base-learner for novel few-shot tasks. While meta-learning how to initialize a base-learner has shown promising results, it is well known that hyperparameter settings such as the learning rate and the weighting of the regularization term are important to achieve best performance. We thus propose to also meta-learn these hyperparameters and in fact learn a time- and layer-varying scheme for learning a base-learner on novel tasks. Additionally, we propose to learn not only a single base-learner but an ensemble of several base-learners to obtain more robust results. While ensembles of learners have shown to improve performance in various settings, this is challenging for few-shot learning tasks due to the limited number of training samples. Therefore, our approach also aims to meta-learn how to effectively combine several base-learners. We conduct extensive experiments and report top performance for five-class few-shot recognition tasks on two challenging benchmarks: miniImageNet and Fewshot-CIFAR100 (FC100).

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In this paper, we investigate the geometric structure of activation spaces of fully connected layers in neural networks and then show applications of this study. We propose an efficient approximation algorithm to characterize the convex hull of massive points in high dimensional space. Based on this new algorithm, four common geometric properties shared by the activation spaces are concluded, which gives a rather clear description of the activation spaces. We then propose an alternative classification method grounding on the geometric structure description, which works better than neural networks alone. Surprisingly, this data classification method can be an indicator of overfitting in neural networks. We believe our work reveals several critical intrinsic properties of modern neural networks and further gives a new metric for evaluating them.

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In Business Intelligence, accurate predictive modeling is the key for providing adaptive decisions. We studied predictive modeling problems in this research which was motivated by real-world cases that Microsoft data scientists encountered while dealing with e-commerce transaction fraud control decisions using transaction streaming data in an uncertain probabilistic decision environment. The values of most online transactions related features can return instantly, while the true fraud labels only return after a stochastic delay. Using partially mature data directly for predictive modeling in an uncertain probabilistic decision environment would lead to significant inaccuracy on risk decision-making. To improve accurate estimation of the probabilistic prediction environment, which leads to more accurate predictive modeling, two frameworks, Current Environment Inference (CEI) and Future Environment Inference (FEI), are proposed. These frameworks generated decision environment related features using long-term fully mature and short-term partially mature data, and the values of those features were estimated using varies of learning methods, including linear regression, random forest, gradient boosted tree, artificial neural network, and recurrent neural network. Performance tests were conducted using some e-commerce transaction data from Microsoft. Testing results suggested that proposed frameworks significantly improved the accuracy of decision environment estimation.

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Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy exploits the magnetic properties of atomic nuclei to discover the structure, reaction state and chemical environment of molecules. We propose a probabilistic generative model and inference procedures for NMR spectroscopy. Specifically, we use a weighted sum of trigonometric functions undergoing exponential decay to model free induction decay (FID) signals. We discuss the challenges in estimating the components of this general model -- amplitudes, phase shifts, frequencies, decay rates, and noise variances -- and offer practical solutions. We compare with conventional Fourier transform spectroscopy for estimating the relative concentrations of chemicals in a mixture, using synthetic and experimentally acquired FID signals. We find the proposed model is particularly robust to low signal to noise ratios (SNR), and overlapping peaks in the Fourier transform of the FID, enabling accurate predictions (e.g., 1% sensitivity at low SNR) which are not possible with conventional spectroscopy (5% sensitivity).

* 26 pages, 13 figures, 1 table. Submitted for publication
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