Abstracts - 2006
Using Multiple Segmentations to Discover Objects and their Extent in Image Collections
Bryan C. Russell, Alexei A. Efros, Josef Sivic, William T. Freeman & Andrew Zisserman
We seek to discover the object categories depicted in a set of unlabelled images and extract their spatial extent. We demonstrate improved object discovery results by incorporating information produced from multiple segmentations of the input image.
Common approaches to object recognition involve some form of supervision. This may range from specifying the object's location and segmentation, as in face detection [1,2], to providing only auxiliary data indicating the object's identity [3,4,5,6]. For a large dataset, any annotation is expensive, or may introduce unforeseen biases. Results in speech recognition and machine translation highlight the importance of huge amounts of training data. The quantity of good, unsupervised training data -- the set of still images -- is orders of magnitude larger than the visual data available with annotation. Thus, one would like to observe many images and infer models for the classes of visual objects contained within them without supervision.
Previous approaches for object discovery developed the analogy of images as text documents by forming the visual analogue of a word through vector quantization of SIFT-like region descriptors [7,8]. Topic discovery techniques from the statistical text mining community were used to discover visual object classes [9,10,11]. However, with these approaches, the features that discriminate between object classes are not well separated, especially in the presence of significant background clutter, and the implied object segmentations are noisy. What we need is a way to group visual words spatially to make them more descriptive.
Given a large, unlabeled collection of images, our goal is to automatically discover object categories with the objects segmented out from the background. For each image in the collection, we compute multiple candidate segmentations using Normalized Cuts . For each segment in each segmentation, we compute a histogram of visual words . We perform topic discovery on the set of all segments in the image collection using Latent Dirichlet Allocation [13,14], treating each segment as a document. For each discovered topic, we sort all segments by how well they are explained by this topic.
The result is a set of discovered topics, ordered by their explanatory power over their best-explained segments. Within each topic, the top-ranked discovered segments will correspond to the objects within that topic.
We used the Caltech 101 , MSRC , and LabelMe  datasets to test our approach. Figure 1 shows how multiple candidate segmentations are used for object discovery. Figures 2-4 show montages of the top segments for a discovered object category.
For more details, please refer to .
Figure 1: How multiple candidate segmentations are used for object discovery. The top left image is the input image, which is segmented, using Normalized Cuts  at different parameter settings, into 12 different sets of candidate regions. The explanatory power of each candidate region is evaluated by how well it is explained by the discovered topic. We illustrate the resulting rank by the brightness of each region. The image data of the top-ranked candidate region is shown in the bottom left, confirming that the top-ranked regions usually correspond to objects.
Figure 2: Top segments for one topic (out of 10) discovered in the Caltech 101 dataset . Note how the discovered segments, learned from a collection of unlabelled images correspond to faces.
Figure 3: Top segments for one topic (out of 25) discovered in the MSRC dataset . Note how the discovered segments, learned from a collection of unlabelled images correspond to signs.
Figure 4: Top segments for one topic (out of 20) discovered in the LabelMe dataset . Note how the discovered segments, learned from a collection of unlabelled images correspond to cars.
This work was sponsored in part by the EU Project CogViSys, the University of Oxford, Shell Oil (grant #6896597), and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (grant #6896949).
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