Improving Object-centric Learning with Query Optimization

17 Oct 2022  ·  Baoxiong Jia, Yu Liu, Siyuan Huang ·

The ability to decompose complex natural scenes into meaningful object-centric abstractions lies at the core of human perception and reasoning. In the recent culmination of unsupervised object-centric learning, the Slot-Attention module has played an important role with its simple yet effective design and fostered many powerful variants. These methods, however, have been exceedingly difficult to train without supervision and are ambiguous in the notion of object, especially for complex natural scenes. In this paper, we propose to address these issues by investigating the potential of learnable queries as initializations for Slot-Attention learning, uniting it with efforts from existing attempts on improving Slot-Attention learning with bi-level optimization. With simple code adjustments on Slot-Attention, our model, Bi-level Optimized Query Slot Attention, achieves state-of-the-art results on 3 challenging synthetic and 7 complex real-world datasets in unsupervised image segmentation and reconstruction, outperforming previous baselines by a large margin. We provide thorough ablative studies to validate the necessity and effectiveness of our design. Additionally, our model exhibits great potential for concept binding and zero-shot learning. Our work is made publicly available at

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