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Dictionary-free categorization of very similar objects via stacked evidence trees

TitleDictionary-free categorization of very similar objects via stacked evidence trees
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsMartinez-Munoz, G., N. Larios, E. N. Mortensen, W. Zhang, A. Yamamuro, R. Paasch, N. Payet, D. A. Lytle, L. G. Shapiro, S. Todorovic, A. Moldenke, and T. G. Dietterich
Conference Name2009 IEEE Computer Society Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition Workshops (CVPR Workshops)
Pagination549 - 556
Date Published06/2009
Conference LocationMiami, FL
ISBN Number978-1-4244-3992-8
Keywordscategory theory, image classification, tree searching

Current work in object categorization discriminates among objects that typically possess gross differences which are readily apparent. However, many applications require making much finer distinctions. We address an insect categorization problem that is so challenging that even trained human experts cannot readily categorize images of insects considered in this paper. The state of the art that uses visual dictionaries, when applied to this problem, yields mediocre results (16.1% error). Three possible explanations for this are (a) the dictionaries are unsupervised, (b) the dictionaries lose the detailed information contained in each keypoint, and (c) these methods rely on hand-engineered decisions about dictionary size. This paper presents a novel, dictionary-free methodology. A random forest of trees is first trained to predict the class of an image based on individual keypoint descriptors. A unique aspect of these trees is that they do not make decisions but instead merely record evidence-i.e., the number of descriptors from training examples of each category that reached each leaf of the tree. We provide a mathematical model showing that voting evidence is better than voting decisions. To categorize a new image, descriptors for all detected keypoints are ldquodroppedrdquo through the trees, and the evidence at each leaf is summed to obtain an overall evidence vector. This is then sent to a second-level classifier to make the categorization decision. We achieve excellent performance (6.4% error) on the 9-class STONEFLY9 data set. Also, our method achieves an average AUC of 0.921 on the PASCAL06 VOC, which places it fifth out of 21 methods reported in the literature and demonstrates that the method also works well for generic object categorization.