Wanted: 8 PhD students and 3 Postdocs on computer vision by deep learning

This summer Qualcomm, the world-leader in mobile chip-design, and the University of Amsterdam, a world-leading computer science department, have started a joint research lab in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, as a great opportunity to join the best of academic and industrial research. Leading the lab are profs. Max Welling (machine learning), Arnold Smeulders (computer vision analysis), and Cees Snoek (image categorization). The lab will pursue world-class research on computer vision and machine learning. We are looking for 3 postdoctoral researchers and 8 PhD candidates in Computer Vision and Deep Learning.

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Latent Factors of Visual Popularity Prediction

The ICMR2015 paper entitled Latent Factors of Visual Popularity Prediction by Spencer Cappallo and Thomas Mensink and Cees G. M. Snoek is now available. Predicting the popularity of an image on social networks based solely on its visual content is a difficult problem. One image may become widely distributed and repeatedly shared, while another similar image may be totally overlooked. We aim to gain insight into how visual content affects image popularity. We propose a latent ranking approach that takes into account not only the distinctive visual cues in popular images, but also those in unpopular images. This method is evaluated on two existing datasets collected from photo-sharing websites, as well as a new proposed dataset of images from the microblogging website Twitter. Our experiments investigate factors of the ranking model, the level of user engagement in scoring popularity, and whether the discovered senses are meaningful. The proposed approach yields state of the art results, and allows for insight into the semantics of image popularity on social networks.

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Discovering Semantic Vocabularies for Cross-Media Retrieval

The ICMR2015 paper Discovering Semantic Vocabularies for Cross-Media Retrieval by Amirhossein Habibian, Thomas Mensink, and Cees G. M. Snoek is now available. This paper proposes a data-driven approach for cross-media retrieval by automatically learning its underlying semantic vocabulary. Different from the existing semantic vocabularies, which are manually pre-defined and annotated, we automatically discover the vocabulary concepts and their annotations from multimedia collections. To this end, we apply a probabilistic topic model on the text available in the collection to extract its semantic structure. Moreover, we propose a learning to rank framework, to effectively learn the concept classifiers from the extracted annotations. We evaluate the discovered semantic vocabulary for cross-media retrieval on three datasets of image/text and video/text pairs. Our experiments demonstrate that the discovered vocabulary does not require any manual labeling to outperform three recent alternatives for cross-media retrieval.

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Encoding Concept Prototypes for Video Event Detection and Summarization

The ICMR2015 paper Encoding Concept Prototypes for Video Event Detection and Summarization by Masoud Mazloom, Amirhossein Habibian, Dong Liu, Cees G. M. Snoek, and Shih-Fu Chang is now available. This paper proposes a new semantic video representation for few and zero example event detection and unsupervised video event summarization. Different from existing works, which obtain a semantic representation by training concepts over images or entire video clips, we propose an algorithm that learns a set of relevant frames as the concept prototypes from web video examples, without the need for frame-level annotations, and use them for representing an event video. We formulate the problem of learning the concept prototypes as seeking the frames closest to the densest region in the feature space of video frames from both positive and negative training videos of a target concept. We study the behavior of our video event representation based on concept prototypes by performing three experiments on challenging web videos from the TRECVID 2013 multimedia event detection task and the MED-summaries dataset. Our experiments establish that i) Event detection accuracy increases when mapping each video into concept prototype space. ii) Zero-example event detection increases by analyzing each frame of a video individually in concept prototype space, rather than considering the holistic videos. iii) Unsupervised video event summarization using concept prototypes is more accurate than using video-level concept detectors.

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Bag-of-Fragments: Selecting and encoding video fragments for event detection and recounting

The ICMR2015 paper: Bag-of-Fragments: Selecting and encoding video fragments for event detection and recounting by Pascal Mettes, Jan C. van Gemert, Spencer Cappallo, Thomas Mensink, and Cees G. M. Snoek is now available. The goal of this paper is event detection and recounting using a representation of concept detector scores. Different from existing work, which encodes videos by averaging concept scores over all frames, we propose to encode videos using fragments that are discriminatively learned per event. Our bag-of-fragments split a video into semantically coherent fragment proposals. From training video proposals we show how to select the most discriminative fragment for an event. An encoding of a video is in turn generated by matching and pooling these discriminative fragments to the fragment proposals of the video. The bag-of-fragments forms an effective encoding for event detection and is able to provide a precise temporally localized event recounting. Furthermore, we show how bag-of-fragments can be extended to deal with irrelevant concepts in the event recounting. Experiments on challenging web videos show that i) our modest number of fragment proposals give a high sub-event recall, ii) bag-of-fragments is complementary to global averaging and provides better event detection, iii) bag-of-fragments with concept filtering yields a desirable event recounting. We conclude that fragments matter for video event detection and recounting.

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What objects tell about actions


The CVPR 2015 paper entitled “What do 15,000 object categories tell us about classifying and localizing actions?” by Mihir Jain, Jan van Gemert and Cees Snoek is now available. This paper contributes to automatic classification and localization of human actions in video. Whereas motion is the key ingredient in modern approaches, we assess the benefits of having objects in the video representation. Rather than considering a handful of carefully selected and localized objects, we conduct an empirical study on the benefit of encoding 15,000 object categories for action using 6 datasets totaling more than 200 hours of video and covering 180 action classes. Our key contributions are i) the first in-depth study of encoding objects for actions, ii) we show that objects matter for actions, and are often semantically relevant as well. iii) We establish that actions have object preferences. Rather than using all objects, selection is advantageous for action recognition. iv) We reveal that object-action relations are generic, which allows to transferring these relationships from the one domain to the other. And, v) objects, when combined with motion, improve the state-of-the-art for both action classification and localization.

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Best paper at ACM Multimedia for VideoStory

The paper “VideoStory: A New Multimedia Embedding for Few-Example Recognition and Translation of Events” by Amirhossein Habibian, Thomas Mensink and Cees Snoek was awarded the best paper award at ACM Multimedia in Orlando. This paper proposes a new video representation for few-example event recognition and translation. Different from existing representations, which rely on either low-level features, or pre-specified attributes, we propose to learn an embedding from videos and their descriptions. In our embedding, which we call VideoStory, correlated term labels are combined if their combination improves the video classifier prediction. Our proposed algorithm prevents the combination of correlated terms which are visually dissimilar by optimizing a joint-objective balancing descriptiveness and predictability. The algorithm learns from textual descriptions of video content, which we obtain for free from the web by a simple spidering procedure. We use our VideoStory representation for few-example recognition of events on more than 65K challenging web videos from the NIST TRECVID event detection task and the Columbia Consumer Video collection. Our experiments establish that i) VideoStory outperforms an embedding without joint-objective and alternatives without any embedding, ii) The varying quality of input video descriptions from the web is compensated by harvesting more data, iii) VideoStory sets a new state-of-the-art for few-example event recognition, outperforming very recent attribute and low-level motion encodings. What is more, VideoStory translates a previously unseen video to its most likely description from visual content only.

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Conceptlets: Selective Semantics for Classifying Video Events


The IEEE Transactions on Multimedia paper: Conceptlets: Selective Semantics for Classifying Video Events by Masoud Mazloom, Efstrastios Gavves, and Cees Snoek is now available. An emerging trend in video event classification is to learn an event from a bank of concept detector scores. Different from existing work, which simply relies on a bank containing all available detectors, we propose in this paper an algorithm that learns from examples what concepts in a bank are most informative per event, which we call the conceptlet. We model finding the conceptlet out of a large set of concept detectors as an importance sampling problem. Our proposed approximate algorithm finds the optimal conceptlet using a cross-entropy optimization. We study the behavior of video event classification based on conceptlets by performing four experiments on challenging internet video from the 2010 and 2012 TRECVID multimedia event detection tasks and Columbia’s consumer video dataset. Starting from a concept bank of more than thousand precomputed detectors, our experiments establish there are (sets of) individual concept detectors that are more discriminative and appear to be more descriptive for a particular event than others, event classification using an automatically obtained conceptlet is more robust than using all available concepts, and conceplets obtained with our cross-entropy algorithm are better than conceptlets from state-of-the-art feature selection algorithms. What is more, the conceptlets make sense for the events of interest, without being programmed to do so.

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