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J. Zhao, L. Itti.  2017.  Improved Deep Learning of Object Category using Pose Information. Proceedings of the IEEE Winter Conference on Applications of Computer Vision (WACV), Santa Rosa, CA. :1-10.

Despite significant recent progress, the best available computer vision algorithms still lag far behind human capabilities, even for recognizing individual discrete objects under various poses, illuminations, and backgrounds. Here we present a new approach to using object pose information to improve deep network learning. While existing large-scale datasets, e.g. ImageNet, do not have pose information, we leverage the newly published turntable dataset, iLab-20M, which has 22M images of 704 object instances shot under different lightings, camera viewpoints and turntable rotations, to do more controlled object recognition experiments. We introduce a new convolutional neural network architecture, what/where CNN (2W-CNN), built on a linear-chain feedforward CNN (e.g., AlexNet), augmented by hierarchical layers regularized by object poses. Pose information is only used as feedback signal during training, in addition to category information, but is not needed during test. To validate the approach, we train both 2W-CNN and AlexNet using a fraction of the dataset, and 2W-CNN achieves 6 percent performance improvement in category prediction. We show mathematically that 2W-CNN has inherent advantages over AlexNet under the stochastic gradient descent (SGD) optimization procedure. Furthermore, we fine-tune object recognition on ImageNet by using the pretrained 2W-CNN and AlexNet features on iLab-20M, results show significant improvement compared with training AlexNet from scratch. Moreover, fine-tuning 2W-CNN features performs even better than fine-tuning the pretrained AlexNet features. These results show that pretrained features on iLab-20M generalize well to natural image datasets, and 2W-CNN learns better features for object recognition than AlexNet.

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J. Zhao, C. K. Chang, L. Itti.  2017.  Learning to Recognize Objects by Retaining other Factors of Variation. Proceedings of the IEEE Winter Conference on Applications of Computer Vision (WACV), Santa Rosa, CA. :1-9.

Most ConvNets formulate object recognition from natural images as a single task classification problem, and attempt to learn features useful for object categories, but invariant to other factors of variation such as pose and illumination. They do not explicitly learn these other factors; instead, they usually discard them by pooling and normalization. Here, we take the opposite approach: we train ConvNets for object recognition by retaining other factors (pose in our case) and learning them jointly with object category. We design a new multi-task leaning (MTL) ConvNet, named disentangling CNN (disCNN), which explicitly enforces the disentangled representations of object identity and pose, and is trained to predict object categories and pose transformations. disCNN achieves significantly better object recognition accuracies than the baseline CNN trained solely to predict object categories on the iLab-20M dataset, a large-scale turntable dataset with detailed pose and lighting information. We further show that the pretrained features on iLab-20M generalize to both Washington RGB-D and ImageNet datasets, and the pretrained disCNN features are significantly better than the pretrained baseline CNN features for fine-tuning on ImageNet.