Section: Research Program

Datasets and evaluation

Standard benchmarks with associated evaluation measures are becoming increasingly important in computer vision, as they enable an objective comparison of state-of-the-art approaches. Such datasets need to be relevant for real-world application scenarios; challenging for state-of-the-art algorithms; and large enough to produce statistically significant results.

A decade ago, small datasets were used to evaluate relatively simple tasks, such as for example interest point matching and detection. Since then, the size of the datasets and the complexity of the tasks gradually evolved. An example is the Pascal Visual Object Challenge with 20 classes and approximately 10,000 images, which evaluates object classification and detection. Another example is the ImageNet challenge, including thousands of classes and millions of images. In the context of video classification, the TrecVid Multimedia Event Detection challenges, organized by NIST, evaluate activity classification on a dataset of over 200,000 video clips, representing more than 8,000 hours of video, which amounts to 11 months of continuous video.

Almost all of the existing image and video datasets are annotated by hand; it is the case for all of the above cited examples. In some cases, they present limited and unrealistic viewing conditions. For example, many images of the ImageNet dataset depict upright objects with virtually no background clutter, and they may not capture particularly relevant visual concepts: most people would not know the majority of subcategories of snakes cataloged in ImageNet. This holds true for video datasets as well, where in addition a taxonomy of action and event categories is missing.

Our effort on data collection and evaluation will focus on two directions. First, we will design and assemble video datasets, in particular for action and activity recognition. This includes defining relevant taxonomies of actions and activities. Second, we will provide data and define evaluation protocols for weakly supervised learning methods. This does not mean of course that we will forsake human supervision altogether: some amount of ground-truth labeling is necessary for experimental validation and comparison to the state of the art. Particular attention will be payed to the design of efficient annotation tools.

Not only do we plan to collect datasets, but also to provide them to the community, together with accompanying evaluation protocols and software, to enable a comparison of competing approaches for action recognition and large-scale weakly supervised learning. Furthermore, we plan to set up evaluation servers together with leader-boards, to establish an unbiased state of the art on held out test data for which the ground-truth annotations are not distributed. This is crucial to avoid tuning the parameters for a specific dataset and to guarantee a fair evaluation.

  • Action recognition. We will develop datasets for recognizing human actions and human-object interactions (including multiple persons) with a significant number of actions. Almost all of today's action recognition datasets evaluate classification of short video clips into a number of predefined categories, in many cases a number of different sports, which are relatively easy to identify by their characteristic motion and context. However, in many real-world applications the goal is to identify and localize actions in entire videos, such as movies or surveillance videos of several hours. The actions targeted here are “real-world” and will be defined by compositions of atomic actions into higher-level activities. One essential component is the definition of relevant taxonomies of actions and activities. We think that such a definition needs to rely on a decomposition of actions into poses, objects and scenes, as determining all possible actions without such a decomposition is not feasible. We plan to provide annotations for spatio-temporal localization of humans as well as relevant objects and scene parts for a large number of actions and videos.

  • Weakly supervised learning. We will collect weakly labeled images and videos for training. The collection process will be semi-automatic. We will use image or video search engines such as Google Image Search, Flickr or YouTube to find visual data corresponding to the labels. Initial datasets will be obtained by manually correcting whole-image/video labels, i.e., the approach will evaluate how well the object model can be learned if the entire image or video is labeled, but the object model has to be extracted automatically. Subsequent datasets will features noisy and incorrect labels. Testing will be performed on PASCAL VOC'07 and ImageNet, but also on more realistic datasets similar to those used for training, which we develop and manually annotate for evaluation. Our dataset will include both images and videos, the categories represented will include objects, scenes as well as human activities, and the data will be presented in realistic conditions.

  • Joint learning from visual information and text. Initially, we will use a selection from the large number of movies and TV series for which scripts are available on-line, see for example http://www.dailyscript.com and http://www.weeklyscript.com. These scripts can easily be aligned with the videos by establishing correspondences between script words and (timestamped) spoken ones obtained from the subtitles or audio track. The goal is to jointly learn from visual content and text. To measure the quality of such a joint learning, we will manually annotate some of the videos. Annotations will include the space-time locations of the actions as well as correct parsing of the sentence. While DVDs will, initially, receive most attention, we will also investigate the use of data obtained from web pages, for example images with captions, or images and videos surrounded by text. This data is by nature more noisy than scripts.