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Devil is in the Tails: Visual Relationship Recognition


Significant effort has been recently devoted to modelling visual relations. This has mostly addressed the design of architectures, typically by adding parameters and increasing model complexity. However, visual relation learning is a long-tailed problem, due to the combinatorial nature of joint reasoning about groups of objects. Increasing model complexity is, in general, ill-suited for long-tailed problems due to their tendency to over-fit. In this thesis, we explore an alternative hypothesis, denoted the Devil is in the Tails. Under this hypothesis, better performance is achieved by keeping the model simple but improving its ability to cope with long-tailed distributions. To test this hypothesis, we devise a new approach for training visual relationships models. This is based on an iterative decoupled training scheme, denoted Decoupled Training for Devil in the Tails (DT2). DT2 employs a novel sampling approach, Alternating Class-Balanced Sampling (ACBS), to capture the interplay between the long-tailed entity and predicate distributions of visual relations. Results show that, with extremely simple architecture, DT2-ACBS significantly outperforms much more complex state-of-the-art methods on scene graph generation tasks. This suggests that the development of sophisticated models must be considered in tandem with the long-tailed nature of the problem.

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