Efficient On-the-fly Category Retrieval using ConvNets and GPUs

We investigate the gains in precision and speed, that can be obtained by using Convolutional Networks (ConvNets) for on-the-fly retrieval - where classifiers are learnt at run time for a textual query from downloaded images, and used to rank large image or video datasets. We make three contributions: (i) we present an evaluation of state-of-the-art image representations for object category retrieval over standard benchmark datasets containing 1M+ images; (ii) we show that ConvNets can be used to obtain features which are incredibly performant, and yet much lower dimensional than previous state-of-the-art image representations, and that their dimensionality can be reduced further without loss in performance by compression using product quantization or binarization. Consequently, features with the state-of-the-art performance on large-scale datasets of millions of images can fit in the memory of even a commodity GPU card; (iii) we show that an SVM classifier can be learnt within a ConvNet framework on a GPU in parallel with downloading the new training images, allowing for a continuous refinement of the model as more images become available, and simultaneous training and ranking. The outcome is an on-the-fly system that significantly outperforms its predecessors in terms of: precision of retrieval, memory requirements, and speed, facilitating accurate on-the-fly learning and ranking in under a second on a single GPU.

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