Learnable Graph Matching: Incorporating Graph Partitioning with Deep Feature Learning for Multiple Object Tracking

Data association across frames is at the core of Multiple Object Tracking (MOT) task. This problem is usually solved by a traditional graph-based optimization or directly learned via deep learning. Despite their popularity, we find some points worth studying in current paradigm: 1) Existing methods mostly ignore the context information among tracklets and intra-frame detections, which makes the tracker hard to survive in challenging cases like severe occlusion. 2) The end-to-end association methods solely rely on the data fitting power of deep neural networks, while they hardly utilize the advantage of optimization-based assignment methods. 3) The graph-based optimization methods mostly utilize a separate neural network to extract features, which brings the inconsistency between training and inference. Therefore, in this paper we propose a novel learnable graph matching method to address these issues. Briefly speaking, we model the relationships between tracklets and the intra-frame detections as a general undirected graph. Then the association problem turns into a general graph matching between tracklet graph and detection graph. Furthermore, to make the optimization end-to-end differentiable, we relax the original graph matching into continuous quadratic programming and then incorporate the training of it into a deep graph network with the help of the implicit function theorem. Lastly, our method GMTracker, achieves state-of-the-art performance on several standard MOT datasets. Our code will be available at https://github.com/jiaweihe1996/GMTracker .

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