Hierarchical Granularity Transfer Learning

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 (NeurIPS 2020)

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Shaobo Min, Hongtao Xie, Hantao Yao, Xuran Deng, Zheng-Jun Zha, Yongdong Zhang


In the real world, object categories usually have a hierarchical granularity tree. Nowadays, most researchers focus on recognizing categories in a specific granularity, \emph{e.g.,} basic-level or sub(ordinate)-level. Compared with basic-level categories, the sub-level categories provide more valuable information, but its training annotations are harder to acquire. Therefore, an attractive problem is how to transfer the knowledge learned from basic-level annotations to sub-level recognition. In this paper, we introduce a new task, named Hierarchical Granularity Transfer Learning (HGTL), to recognize sub-level categories with basic-level annotations and semantic descriptions for hierarchical categories. Different from other recognition tasks, HGTL has a serious granularity gap,~\emph{i.e.,} the two granularities share an image space but have different category domains, which impede the knowledge transfer. To this end, we propose a novel Bi-granularity Semantic Preserving Network (BigSPN) to bridge the granularity gap for robust knowledge transfer. Explicitly, BigSPN constructs specific visual encoders for different granularities, which are aligned with a shared semantic interpreter via a novel subordinate entropy loss. Experiments on three benchmarks with hierarchical granularities show that BigSPN is an effective framework for Hierarchical Granularity Transfer Learning.