Circle Loss: A Unified Perspective of Pair Similarity Optimization

Yifan Sun, Changmao Cheng, Yuhan Zhang, Chi Zhang, Liang Zheng, Zhongdao Wang, Yichen Wei; Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), 2020, pp. 6398-6407


This paper provides a pair similarity optimization viewpoint on deep feature learning, aiming to maximize the within-class similarity s_p and minimize the between-class similarity s_n. We find a majority of loss functions, including the triplet loss and the softmax cross-entropy loss, embed s_n and s_p into similarity pairs and seek to reduce (s_n-s_p). Such an optimization manner is inflexible, because the penalty strength on every single similarity score is restricted to be equal. Our intuition is that if a similarity score deviates far from the optimum, it should be emphasized. To this end, we simply re-weight each similarity to highlight the less-optimized similarity scores. It results in a Circle loss, which is named due to its circular decision boundary. The Circle loss has a unified formula for two elemental deep feature learning paradigms, ph i.e. , learning with class-level labels and pair-wise labels. Analytically, we show that the Circle loss offers a more flexible optimization approach towards a more definite convergence target, compared with the loss functions optimizing (s_n-s_p). Experimentally, we demonstrate the superiority of the Circle loss on a variety of deep feature learning tasks. On face recognition, person re-identification, as well as several fine-grained image retrieval datasets, the achieved performance is on par with the state of the art.

Related Material

author = {Sun, Yifan and Cheng, Changmao and Zhang, Yuhan and Zhang, Chi and Zheng, Liang and Wang, Zhongdao and Wei, Yichen},
title = {Circle Loss: A Unified Perspective of Pair Similarity Optimization},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR)},
month = {June},
year = {2020}