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A Functional Approach to Rotation Equivariant Non-Linearities for Tensor Field Networks.
Learning pose invariant representation is a fundamental problem in shape analysis. Most existing deep learning algorithms for 3D shape analysis are not robust to rotations and are often trained on synthetic datasets consisting of pre-aligned shapes, yielding poor generalization to unseen poses. This observation motivates a growing interest in rotation invariant and equivariant methods. The field of rotation equivariant deep learning is developing in recent years thanks to a well established theory of Lie group representations and convolutions. A fundamental problem in equivariant deep learning is to design activation functions which are both informative and preserve equivariance. The recently introduced Tensor Field Network (TFN) framework provides a rotation equivariant network design for point cloud analysis. TFN features undergo a rotation in feature space given a rotation of the input pointcloud. TFN and similar designs consider nonlinearities which operate only over rotation invariant features such as the norm of equivariant features to preserve equivariance, making them unable to capture the directional information. In a recent work entitled "Gauge Equivariant Mesh CNNs: Anisotropic Convolutions on Geometric Graphs" Hann et al. interpret 2D rotation equivariant features as Fourier coefficients of functions on the circle. In this work we transpose the idea of Hann et al. to 3D by interpreting TFN features as spherical harmonics coefficients of functions on the sphere. We introduce a new equivariant nonlinearity and pooling for TFN. We show improvments over the original TFN design and other equivariant nonlinearities in classification and segmentation tasks. Furthermore our method is competitive with state of the art rotation invariant methods in some instances.