MIC: Mining Interclass Characteristics for Improved Metric Learning

Karsten Roth, Biagio Brattoli, Bjorn Ommer; The IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV), 2019, pp. 8000-8009


Metric learning seeks to embed images of objects such that class-defined relations are captured by the embedding space. However, variability in images is not just due to different depicted object classes, but also depends on other latent characteristics such as viewpoint or illumination. In addition to these structured properties, random noise further obstructs the visual relations of interest. The common approach to metric learning is to enforce a representation that is invariant under all factors but the ones of interest. In contrast, we propose to explicitly learn the latent characteristics that are shared by and go across object classes. We can then directly explain away structured visual variability, rather than assuming it to be unknown random noise. We propose a novel surrogate task to learn visual characteristics shared across classes with a separate encoder. This encoder is trained jointly with the encoder for class information by reducing their mutual information. On five standard image retrieval benchmarks the approach significantly improves upon the state-of-the-art. Code is available at https://github.com/Confusezius/metric-learning-mining-interclass-characteristics.

Related Material

author = {Roth, Karsten and Brattoli, Biagio and Ommer, Bjorn},
title = {MIC: Mining Interclass Characteristics for Improved Metric Learning},
booktitle = {The IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV)},
month = {October},
year = {2019}