Video captioning is the task of automatically generating a textual description of the actions in a video. Although previous work (e.g. sequence-to-sequence model) has shown promising results in abstracting a coarse description of a short video, it is still very challenging to caption a video containing multiple fine-grained actions with a detailed description. This paper aims to address the challenge by proposing a novel hierarchical reinforcement learning framework for video captioning, where a high-level Manager module learns to design sub-goals and a low-level Worker module recognizes the primitive actions to fulfill the sub-goal. With this compositional framework to reinforce video captioning at different levels, our approach significantly outperforms all the baseline methods on a newly introduced large-scale dataset for fine-grained video captioning. Furthermore, our non-ensemble model has already achieved the state-of-the-art results on the widely-used MSR-VTT dataset.

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视频描述生成(Video Caption),就是从视频中自动生成一段描述性文字

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It is well believed that video captioning is a fundamental but challenging task in both computer vision and artificial intelligence fields. The prevalent approach is to map an input video to a variable-length output sentence in a sequence to sequence manner via Recurrent Neural Network (RNN). Nevertheless, the training of RNN still suffers to some degree from vanishing/exploding gradient problem, making the optimization difficult. Moreover, the inherently recurrent dependency in RNN prevents parallelization within a sequence during training and therefore limits the computations. In this paper, we present a novel design --- Temporal Deformable Convolutional Encoder-Decoder Networks (dubbed as TDConvED) that fully employ convolutions in both encoder and decoder networks for video captioning. Technically, we exploit convolutional block structures that compute intermediate states of a fixed number of inputs and stack several blocks to capture long-term relationships. The structure in encoder is further equipped with temporal deformable convolution to enable free-form deformation of temporal sampling. Our model also capitalizes on temporal attention mechanism for sentence generation. Extensive experiments are conducted on both MSVD and MSR-VTT video captioning datasets, and superior results are reported when comparing to conventional RNN-based encoder-decoder techniques. More remarkably, TDConvED increases CIDEr-D performance from 58.8% to 67.2% on MSVD.

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Although end-to-end (E2E) learning has led to impressive progress on a variety of visual understanding tasks, it is often impeded by hardware constraints (e.g., GPU memory) and is prone to overfitting. When it comes to video captioning, one of the most challenging benchmark tasks in computer vision, those limitations of E2E learning are especially amplified by the fact that both the input videos and output captions are lengthy sequences. Indeed, state-of-the-art methods for video captioning process video frames by convolutional neural networks and generate captions by unrolling recurrent neural networks. If we connect them in an E2E manner, the resulting model is both memory-consuming and data-hungry, making it extremely hard to train. In this paper, we propose a multitask reinforcement learning approach to training an E2E video captioning model. The main idea is to mine and construct as many effective tasks (e.g., attributes, rewards, and the captions) as possible from the human captioned videos such that they can jointly regulate the search space of the E2E neural network, from which an E2E video captioning model can be found and generalized to the testing phase. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first video captioning model that is trained end-to-end from the raw video input to the caption output. Experimental results show that such a model outperforms existing ones to a large margin on two benchmark video captioning datasets.

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Recent progress has been made in using attention based encoder-decoder framework for image and video captioning. Most existing decoders apply the attention mechanism to every generated word including both visual words (e.g., "gun" and "shooting") and non-visual words (e.g. "the", "a"). However, these non-visual words can be easily predicted using natural language model without considering visual signals or attention. Imposing attention mechanism on non-visual words could mislead and decrease the overall performance of visual captioning. Furthermore, the hierarchy of LSTMs enables more complex representation of visual data, capturing information at different scales. To address these issues, we propose a hierarchical LSTM with adaptive attention (hLSTMat) approach for image and video captioning. Specifically, the proposed framework utilizes the spatial or temporal attention for selecting specific regions or frames to predict the related words, while the adaptive attention is for deciding whether to depend on the visual information or the language context information. Also, a hierarchical LSTMs is designed to simultaneously consider both low-level visual information and high-level language context information to support the caption generation. We initially design our hLSTMat for video captioning task. Then, we further refine it and apply it to image captioning task. To demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed framework, we test our method on both video and image captioning tasks. Experimental results show that our approach achieves the state-of-the-art performance for most of the evaluation metrics on both tasks. The effect of important components is also well exploited in the ablation study.

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Despite deep reinforcement learning has recently achieved great successes, however in multiagent environments, a number of challenges still remain. Multiagent reinforcement learning (MARL) is commonly considered to suffer from the problem of non-stationary environments and exponentially increasing policy space. It would be even more challenging to learn effective policies in circumstances where the rewards are sparse and delayed over long trajectories. In this paper, we study Hierarchical Deep Multiagent Reinforcement Learning (hierarchical deep MARL) in cooperative multiagent problems with sparse and delayed rewards, where efficient multiagent learning methods are desperately needed. We decompose the original MARL problem into hierarchies and investigate how effective policies can be learned hierarchically in synchronous/asynchronous hierarchical MARL frameworks. Several hierarchical deep MARL architectures, i.e., Ind-hDQN, hCom and hQmix, are introduced for different learning paradigms. Moreover, to alleviate the issues of sparse experiences in high-level learning and non-stationarity in multiagent settings, we propose a new experience replay mechanism, named as Augmented Concurrent Experience Replay (ACER). We empirically demonstrate the effects and efficiency of our approaches in several classic Multiagent Trash Collection tasks, as well as in an extremely challenging team sports game, i.e., Fever Basketball Defense.

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Recently it has shown that the policy-gradient methods for reinforcement learning have been utilized to train deep end-to-end systems on natural language processing tasks. What's more, with the complexity of understanding image content and diverse ways of describing image content in natural language, image captioning has been a challenging problem to deal with. To the best of our knowledge, most state-of-the-art methods follow a pattern of sequential model, such as recurrent neural networks (RNN). However, in this paper, we propose a novel architecture for image captioning with deep reinforcement learning to optimize image captioning tasks. We utilize two networks called "policy network" and "value network" to collaboratively generate the captions of images. The experiments are conducted on Microsoft COCO dataset, and the experimental results have verified the effectiveness of the proposed method.

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The explosion of video data on the internet requires effective and efficient technology to generate captions automatically for people who are not able to watch the videos. Despite the great progress of video captioning research, particularly on video feature encoding, the language decoder is still largely based on the prevailing RNN decoder such as LSTM, which tends to prefer the frequent word that aligns with the video. In this paper, we propose a boundary-aware hierarchical language decoder for video captioning, which consists of a high-level GRU based language decoder, working as a global (caption-level) language model, and a low-level GRU based language decoder, working as a local (phrase-level) language model. Most importantly, we introduce a binary gate into the low-level GRU language decoder to detect the language boundaries. Together with other advanced components including joint video prediction, shared soft attention, and boundary-aware video encoding, our integrated video captioning framework can discover hierarchical language information and distinguish the subject and the object in a sentence, which are usually confusing during the language generation. Extensive experiments on two widely-used video captioning datasets, MSR-Video-to-Text (MSR-VTT) \cite{xu2016msr} and YouTube-to-Text (MSVD) \cite{chen2011collecting} show that our method is highly competitive, compared with the state-of-the-art methods.

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Deep hierarchical reinforcement learning has gained a lot of attention in recent years due to its ability to produce state-of-the-art results in challenging environments where non-hierarchical frameworks fail to learn useful policies. However, as problem domains become more complex, deep hierarchical reinforcement learning can become inefficient, leading to longer convergence times and poor performance. We introduce the Deep Nested Agent framework, which is a variant of deep hierarchical reinforcement learning where information from the main agent is propagated to the low level $nested$ agent by incorporating this information into the nested agent's state. We demonstrate the effectiveness and performance of the Deep Nested Agent framework by applying it to three scenarios in Minecraft with comparisons to a deep non-hierarchical single agent framework, as well as, a deep hierarchical framework.

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We describe a DNN for fine-grained action classification and video captioning. It gives state-of-the-art performance on the challenging Something-Something dataset, with over 220, 000 videos and 174 fine-grained actions. Classification and captioning on this dataset are challenging because of the subtle differences between actions, the use of thousands of different objects, and the diversity of captions penned by crowd actors. The model architecture shares features for classification and captioning, and is trained end-to-end. It performs much better than the existing classification benchmark for Something-Something, with impressive fine-grained results, and it yields a strong baseline on the new Something-Something captioning task. Our results reveal that there is a strong correlation between the degree of detail in the task and the ability of the learned features to transfer to other tasks.

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Recently, much advance has been made in image captioning, and an encoder-decoder framework has achieved outstanding performance for this task. In this paper, we propose an extension of the encoder-decoder framework by adding a component called guiding network. The guiding network models the attribute properties of input images, and its output is leveraged to compose the input of the decoder at each time step. The guiding network can be plugged into the current encoder-decoder framework and trained in an end-to-end manner. Hence, the guiding vector can be adaptively learned according to the signal from the decoder, making itself to embed information from both image and language. Additionally, discriminative supervision can be employed to further improve the quality of guidance. The advantages of our proposed approach are verified by experiments carried out on the MS COCO dataset.

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Accelerated by the tremendous increase in Internet bandwidth and storage space, video data has been generated, published and spread explosively, becoming an indispensable part of today's big data. In this paper, we focus on reviewing two lines of research aiming to stimulate the comprehension of videos with deep learning: video classification and video captioning. While video classification concentrates on automatically labeling video clips based on their semantic contents like human actions or complex events, video captioning attempts to generate a complete and natural sentence, enriching the single label as in video classification, to capture the most informative dynamics in videos. In addition, we also provide a review of popular benchmarks and competitions, which are critical for evaluating the technical progress of this vibrant field.

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