Conditional Random Fields for Object Recognition

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 17 (NIPS 2004)

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Ariadna Quattoni, Michael Collins, Trevor Darrell


We present a discriminative part-based approach for the recognition of object classes from unsegmented cluttered scenes. Objects are modeled as flexible constellations of parts conditioned on local observations found by an interest operator. For each object class the probability of a given assignment of parts to local features is modeled by a Conditional Ran- dom Field (CRF). We propose an extension of the CRF framework that incorporates hidden variables and combines class conditional CRFs into a unified framework for part-based object recognition. The parameters of the CRF are estimated in a maximum likelihood framework and recogni- tion proceeds by finding the most likely class under our model. The main advantage of the proposed CRF framework is that it allows us to relax the assumption of conditional independence of the observed data (i.e. local features) often used in generative approaches, an assumption that might be too restrictive for a considerable number of object classes.