Multi-Level Active Prediction of Useful Image Annotations for Recognition

We introduce a framework for actively learning visual categories from a mixture of weakly and strongly labeled image examples. We propose to allow the category-learner to strategically choose what annotations it receives---based on both the expected reduction in uncertainty as well as the relative costs of obtaining each annotation. We construct a multiple-instance discriminative classifier based on the initial training data. Then all remaining unlabeled and weakly labeled examples are surveyed to actively determine which annotation ought to be requested next. After each request, the current classifier is incrementally updated. Unlike previous work, our approach accounts for the fact that the optimal use of manual annotation may call for a combination of labels at multiple levels of granularity (e.g., a full segmentation on some images and a present/absent flag on others). As a result, it is possible to learn more accurate category models with a lower total expenditure of manual annotation effort.

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