Improving Pairwise Ranking for Multi-Label Image Classification

Yuncheng Li, Yale Song, Jiebo Luo; Proceedings of the IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), 2017, pp. 3617-3625


Learning to rank has recently emerged as an attractive technique to train deep convolutional neural networks for various computer vision tasks. Pairwise ranking, in particular, has been successful in multi-label image classification, achieving state-of-the-art results on various benchmarks. However, most existing approaches use the hinge loss to train their models, which is non-smooth and thus is difficult to optimize especially with deep networks. Furthermore, they employ simple heuristics, such as top-k or thresholding, to determine which labels to include in the output from a ranked list of labels, which limits their use in the real-world setting. In this work, we propose two techniques to improve pairwise ranking based multi-label image classification by solving the aforementioned problems: (1) we propose a novel loss function for pairwise ranking, which is smooth everywhere; and (2) we incorporate a label decision module into the model, estimating the optimal confidence thresholds for each visual concept. We provide theoretical analyses of our loss function from the point of view of the Bayes consistency and risk minimization, and show its benefit over existing pairwise ranking formulations. We also demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach on two large-scale datasets, NUS-WIDE and MS-COCO, achieving the best reported result in the literature.

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[pdf] [arXiv] [poster]
author = {Li, Yuncheng and Song, Yale and Luo, Jiebo},
title = {Improving Pairwise Ranking for Multi-Label Image Classification},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR)},
month = {July},
year = {2017}