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.
It is always well believed that parsing an image into constituent visual patterns would be helpful for understanding and representing an image. Nevertheless, there has not been evidence in support of the idea on describing an image with a natural-language utterance. In this paper, we introduce a new design to model a hierarchy from instance level (segmentation), region level (detection) to the whole image to delve into a thorough image understanding for captioning. Specifically, we present a HIerarchy Parsing (HIP) architecture that novelly integrates hierarchical structure into image encoder. Technically, an image decomposes into a set of regions and some of the regions are resolved into finer ones. Each region then regresses to an instance, i.e., foreground of the region. Such process naturally builds a hierarchal tree. A tree-structured Long Short-Term Memory (Tree-LSTM) network is then employed to interpret the hierarchal structure and enhance all the instance-level, region-level and image-level features. Our HIP is appealing in view that it is pluggable to any neural captioning models. Extensive experiments on COCO image captioning dataset demonstrate the superiority of HIP. More remarkably, HIP plus a top-down attention-based LSTM decoder increases CIDEr-D performance from 120.1% to 127.2% on COCO Karpathy test split. When further endowing instance-level and region-level features from HIP with semantic relation learnt through Graph Convolutional Networks (GCN), CIDEr-D is boosted up to 130.6%.
In recent years, the biggest advances in major Computer Vision tasks, such as object recognition, handwritten-digit identification, facial recognition, and many others., have all come through the use of Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs). Similarly, in the domain of Natural Language Processing, Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs), and Long Short Term Memory networks (LSTMs) in particular, have been crucial to some of the biggest breakthroughs in performance for tasks such as machine translation, part-of-speech tagging, sentiment analysis, and many others. These individual advances have greatly benefited tasks even at the intersection of NLP and Computer Vision, and inspired by this success, we studied some existing neural image captioning models that have proven to work well. In this work, we study some existing captioning models that provide near state-of-the-art performances, and try to enhance one such model. We also present a simple image captioning model that makes use of a CNN, an LSTM, and the beam search1 algorithm, and study its performance based on various qualitative and quantitative metrics.
Image captioning models typically follow an encoder-decoder architecture which uses abstract image feature vectors as input to the encoder. One of the most successful algorithms uses feature vectors extracted from the region proposals obtained from an object detector. In this work we introduce the Object Relation Transformer, that builds upon this approach by explicitly incorporating information about the spatial relationship between input detected objects through geometric attention. Quantitative and qualitative results demonstrate the importance of such geometric attention for image captioning, leading to improvements on all common captioning metrics on the MS-COCO dataset.
The recent advances of deep learning in both computer vision (CV) and natural language processing (NLP) provide us a new way of understanding semantics, by which we can deal with more challenging tasks such as automatic description generation from natural images. In this challenge, the encoder-decoder framework has achieved promising performance when a convolutional neural network (CNN) is used as image encoder and a recurrent neural network (RNN) as decoder. In this paper, we introduce a sequential guiding network that guides the decoder during word generation. The new model is an extension of the encoder-decoder framework with attention that has an additional guiding long short-term memory (LSTM) and can be trained in an end-to-end manner by using image/descriptions pairs. We validate our approach by conducting extensive experiments on a benchmark dataset, i.e., MS COCO Captions. The proposed model achieves significant improvement comparing to the other state-of-the-art deep learning models.
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.
Recently, much advance has been made in image captioning, and an encoder-decoder framework has been adopted by all the state-of-the-art models. Under this framework, an input image is encoded by a convolutional neural network (CNN) and then translated into natural language with a recurrent neural network (RNN). The existing models counting on this framework merely employ one kind of CNNs, e.g., ResNet or Inception-X, which describe image contents from only one specific view point. Thus, the semantic meaning of an input image cannot be comprehensively understood, which restricts the performance of captioning. In this paper, in order to exploit the complementary information from multiple encoders, we propose a novel Recurrent Fusion Network (RFNet) for tackling image captioning. The fusion process in our model can exploit the interactions among the outputs of the image encoders and then generate new compact yet informative representations for the decoder. Experiments on the MSCOCO dataset demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed RFNet, which sets a new state-of-the-art for image captioning.
In this paper, we propose a novel conditional generative adversarial nets based image captioning framework as an extension of traditional reinforcement learning (RL) based encoder-decoder architecture. To deal with the inconsistent evaluation problem between objective language metrics and subjective human judgements, we are inspired to design some "discriminator" networks to automatically and progressively determine whether generated caption is human described or machine generated. Two kinds of discriminator architecture (CNN and RNN based structures) are introduced since each has its own advantages. The proposed algorithm is generic so that it can enhance any existing encoder-decoder based image captioning model and we show that conventional RL training method is just a special case of our framework. Empirically, we show consistent improvements over all language evaluation metrics for different stage-of-the-art image captioning models.
Although end-to-end (E2E) learning has led to promising performance on a variety of tasks, it is often impeded by hardware constraints (e.g., GPU memories) and is prone to overfitting. When it comes to video captioning, one of the most challenging benchmark tasks in computer vision and machine learning, 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 of 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.
The existing image captioning approaches typically train a one-stage sentence decoder, which is difficult to generate rich fine-grained descriptions. On the other hand, multi-stage image caption model is hard to train due to the vanishing gradient problem. In this paper, we propose a coarse-to-fine multi-stage prediction framework for image captioning, composed of multiple decoders each of which operates on the output of the previous stage, producing increasingly refined image descriptions. Our proposed learning approach addresses the difficulty of vanishing gradients during training by providing a learning objective function that enforces intermediate supervisions. Particularly, we optimize our model with a reinforcement learning approach which utilizes the output of each intermediate decoder's test-time inference algorithm as well as the output of its preceding decoder to normalize the rewards, which simultaneously solves the well-known exposure bias problem and the loss-evaluation mismatch problem. We extensively evaluate the proposed approach on MSCOCO and show that our approach can achieve the state-of-the-art performance.
When a recurrent neural network language model is used for caption generation, the image information can be fed to the neural network either by directly incorporating it in the RNN -- conditioning the language model by `injecting' image features -- or in a layer following the RNN -- conditioning the language model by `merging' image features. While both options are attested in the literature, there is as yet no systematic comparison between the two. In this paper we empirically show that it is not especially detrimental to performance whether one architecture is used or another. The merge architecture does have practical advantages, as conditioning by merging allows the RNN's hidden state vector to shrink in size by up to four times. Our results suggest that the visual and linguistic modalities for caption generation need not be jointly encoded by the RNN as that yields large, memory-intensive models with few tangible advantages in performance; rather, the multimodal integration should be delayed to a subsequent stage.