The aim of image captioning is to generate captions by machine to describe image contents. Despite many efforts, generating discriminative captions for images remains non-trivial. Most traditional approaches imitate the language structure patterns, thus tend to fall into a stereotype of replicating frequent phrases or sentences and neglect unique aspects of each image. In this work, we propose an image captioning framework with a self-retrieval module as training guidance, which encourages generating discriminative captions. It brings unique advantages: (1) the self-retrieval guidance can act as a metric and an evaluator of caption discriminativeness to assure the quality of generated captions. (2) The correspondence between generated captions and images are naturally incorporated in the generation process without human annotations, and hence our approach could utilize a large amount of unlabeled images to boost captioning performance with no additional laborious annotations. We demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed retrieval-guided method on COCO and Flickr30k captioning datasets, and show its superior captioning performance with more discriminative captions.
Text to Image Synthesis refers to the process of automatic generation of a photo-realistic image starting from a given text and is revolutionizing many real-world applications. In order to perform such process it is necessary to exploit datasets containing captioned images, meaning that each image is associated with one (or more) captions describing it. Despite the abundance of uncaptioned images datasets, the number of captioned datasets is limited. To address this issue, in this paper we propose an approach capable of generating images starting from a given text using conditional GANs trained on uncaptioned images dataset. In particular, uncaptioned images are fed to an Image Captioning Module to generate the descriptions. Then, the GAN Module is trained on both the input image and the machine-generated caption. To evaluate the results, the performance of our solution is compared with the results obtained by the unconditional GAN. For the experiments, we chose to use the uncaptioned dataset LSUN bedroom. The results obtained in our study are preliminary but still promising.
Sufficient supervised information is crucial for any machine learning models to boost performance. However, labeling data is expensive and sometimes difficult to obtain. Active learning is an approach to acquire annotations for data from a human oracle by selecting informative samples with a high probability to enhance performance. In recent emerging studies, a generative adversarial network (GAN) has been integrated with active learning to generate good candidates to be presented to the oracle. In this paper, we propose a novel model that is able to obtain labels for data in a cheaper manner without the need to query an oracle. In the model, a novel reward for each sample is devised to measure the degree of uncertainty, which is obtained from a classifier trained with existing labeled data. This reward is used to guide a conditional GAN to generate informative samples with a higher probability for a certain label. With extensive evaluations, we have confirmed the effectiveness of the model, showing that the generated samples are capable of improving the classification performance in popular image classification tasks.
Deep neural networks have achieved great successes on the image captioning task. However, most of the existing models depend heavily on paired image-sentence datasets, which are very expensive to acquire. In this paper, we make the first attempt to train an image captioning model in an unsupervised manner. Instead of relying on manually labeled image-sentence pairs, our proposed model merely requires an image set, a sentence corpus, and an existing visual concept detector. The sentence corpus is used to teach the captioning model how to generate plausible sentences. Meanwhile, the knowledge in the visual concept detector is distilled into the captioning model to guide the model to recognize the visual concepts in an image. In order to further encourage the generated captions to be semantically consistent with the image, the image and caption are projected into a common latent space so that they can be used to reconstruct each other. Given that the existing sentence corpora are mainly designed for linguistic research and thus with little reference to image contents, we crawl a large-scale image description corpus of 2 million natural sentences to facilitate the unsupervised image captioning scenario. Experimental results show that our proposed model is able to produce quite promising results without using any labeled training pairs.
Current captioning approaches can describe images using black-box architectures whose behavior is hardly controllable and explainable from the exterior. As an image can be described in infinite ways depending on the goal and the context at hand, a higher degree of controllability is needed to apply captioning algorithms in complex scenarios. In this paper, we introduce a novel framework for image captioning which can generate diverse descriptions by allowing both grounding and controllability. Given a control signal in the form of a sequence or set of image regions, we generate the corresponding caption through a recurrent architecture which predicts textual chunks explicitly grounded on regions, following the constraints of the given control. Experiments are conducted on Flickr30k Entities and on COCO Entities, an extended version of COCO in which we add grounding annotations collected in a semi-automatic manner. Results demonstrate that our method achieves state of the art performances on controllable image captioning, in terms of caption quality and diversity. Code will be made publicly available.
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.
Generating stylized captions for an image is an emerging topic in image captioning. Given an image as input, it requires the system to generate a caption that has a specific style (e.g., humorous, romantic, positive, and negative) while describing the image content semantically accurately. In this paper, we propose a novel stylized image captioning model that effectively takes both requirements into consideration. To this end, we first devise a new variant of LSTM, named style-factual LSTM, as the building block of our model. It uses two groups of matrices to capture the factual and stylized knowledge, respectively, and automatically learns the word-level weights of the two groups based on previous context. In addition, when we train the model to capture stylized elements, we propose an adaptive learning approach based on a reference factual model, it provides factual knowledge to the model as the model learns from stylized caption labels, and can adaptively compute how much information to supply at each time step. We evaluate our model on two stylized image captioning datasets, which contain humorous/romantic captions and positive/negative captions, respectively. Experiments shows that our proposed model outperforms the state-of-the-art approaches, without using extra ground truth supervision.
Image descriptors based on activations of Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) have become dominant in image retrieval due to their discriminative power, compactness of representation, and search efficiency. Training of CNNs, either from scratch or fine-tuning, requires a large amount of annotated data, where a high quality of annotation is often crucial. In this work, we propose to fine-tune CNNs for image retrieval on a large collection of unordered images in a fully automated manner. Reconstructed 3D models obtained by the state-of-the-art retrieval and structure-from-motion methods guide the selection of the training data. We show that both hard-positive and hard-negative examples, selected by exploiting the geometry and the camera positions available from the 3D models, enhance the performance of particular-object retrieval. CNN descriptor whitening discriminatively learned from the same training data outperforms commonly used PCA whitening. We propose a novel trainable Generalized-Mean (GeM) pooling layer that generalizes max and average pooling and show that it boosts retrieval performance. Applying the proposed method to the VGG network achieves state-of-the-art performance on the standard benchmarks: Oxford Buildings, Paris, and Holidays datasets.
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.
In this paper we propose a new conditional GAN for image captioning that enforces semantic alignment between images and captions through a co-attentive discriminator and a context-aware LSTM sequence generator. In order to train these sequence GANs, we empirically study two algorithms: Self-critical Sequence Training (SCST) and Gumbel Straight-Through. Both techniques are confirmed to be viable for training sequence GANs. However, SCST displays better gradient behavior despite not directly leveraging gradients from the discriminator. This ensures a stronger stability of sequence GANs training and ultimately produces models with improved results under human evaluation. Automatic evaluation of GAN trained captioning models is an open question. To remedy this, we introduce a new semantic score with strong correlation to human judgement. As a paradigm for evaluation, we suggest that the generalization ability of the captioner to Out of Context (OOC) scenes is an important criterion to assess generalization and composition. To this end, we propose an OOC dataset which, combined with our automatic metric of semantic score, is a new benchmark for the captioning community to measure the generalization ability of automatic image captioning. Under this new OOC benchmark, and on the traditional MSCOCO dataset, our models trained with SCST have strong performance in both semantic score and human evaluation.
One property that remains lacking in image captions generated by contemporary methods is discriminability: being able to tell two images apart given the caption for one of them. We propose a way to improve this aspect of caption generation. By incorporating into the captioning training objective a loss component directly related to ability (by a machine) to disambiguate image/caption matches, we obtain systems that produce much more discriminative caption, according to human evaluation. Remarkably, our approach leads to improvement in other aspects of generated captions, reflected by a battery of standard scores such as BLEU, SPICE etc. Our approach is modular and can be applied to a variety of model/loss combinations commonly proposed for image captioning.