AAAI Publications, Thirty-Second AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence

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Asking Friendly Strangers: Non-Semantic Attribute Transfer
Nils Murrugarra-Llerena, Adriana Kovashka

Last modified: 2018-04-27


Attributes can be used to recognize unseen objects from a textual description. Their learning is oftentimes accomplished with a large amount of annotations, e.g. around 160k-180k, but what happens if for a given attribute, we do not have many annotations? The standard approach would be to perform transfer learning, where we use source models trained on other attributes, to learn a separate target attribute. However existing approaches only consider transfer from attributes in the same domain i.e. they perform semantic transfer between attributes that have related meaning. Instead, we propose to perform non-semantic transfer from attributes that may be in different domains, hence they have no semantic relation to the target attributes. We develop an attention-guided transfer architecture that learns how to weigh the available source attribute classifiers, and applies them to image features for the attribute name of interest, to make predictions for that attribute. We validate our approach on 272 attributes from five domains: animals, objects, scenes, shoes and textures. We show that semantically unrelated attributes provide knowledge that helps improve the accuracy of the target attribute of interest, more so than only allowing transfer from semantically related attributes.


deep learning; attribute learning; transfer learning; attention

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